Real-life Winnie the Pooh: Bears on the rise go after honey

Real-life Winnie the Pooh: Bears on the rise go after honey

Credit: Diane Newbern

Real-life Winnie the Pooh: Bears on the rise go after honey

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by Karen Hopkins, WVEC

khou.com

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 12:09 PM

IVOR, Virginia -- The bear population is on the rise in Hampton Roads and now the animals are going after pots of honey.

Diane Newbern was worried when a bear started sneaking in to eat her bee hives at her farm on General Mahone Blvd.

"You could see that the bear took the hive into the grass to eat the honey and the bees," she explained.

About two miles down the road, David and Victoria Mitchell also caught a bear sticky handed in their honey.

According to experts, the bears not only enjoy the honey, but they also eat the bees. The pupae and larvae are rich in fat and protein. Plus their fur protects them from most bee stings, except for around their faces and ears.

"They probably don't get stung much as you would, but it's worth it to the bears. They'll put up with it," Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries spokesperson Pete Acker said.

Newbern wanted to put a stop to the problem. So she called the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and workers set a trap to catch the bear.

Thursday morning, the family found the bear caught in the trap.  Wildlife experts believe the bear is an adult male who is at least 4 years old.

Crews are working to relocate the animal to a more suitable habitat and far enough away that he won't return to the bee farms.

Acker recommends farmers take a step to keep the bears away by installing electric fences around their bee hives.

"I think generally, across our area, people are starting to see and understand that this is the new normal," Acker noted.

The Newberns say this is the first time they've seen a bear go after their hives.
 

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