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March 22, 2019

Susquehanna University says black bear damaged hive, stole honey from beekeepers

Wildlife Bears
Black Bear Greg Hume /Creative Commons

This is a black bear at the Cincinnati Zoo, not the bear we're talking about here. It's a totally different bear.

Officials at Susquehanna University in Snyder County are making light of a campus theft involving the beekeeping club, a black bear and lots of honey.

The Selinsgrove university posted a status to Facebook on Friday afternoon saying a bear was wanted for breaking into the campus beehives at the Center for Earth and Environmental Research.

The alleged honey theft occurred last weekend. While there were no witnesses, members of the beekeeping club found one of their hives about 50 feet away from its station, pulled apart and heavily licked. Two other hives were knocked over but remained intact.

Staff reassembled the hive, the but the bear came back the next night in search of more honey.

Last year, Susquehanna became the first university in Pennsylvania to be certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, which promotes sustainable habitats for pollinators.

An adviser for the club told WNEP that in addition to losing honey, a number of bees also died from exposure after the attack.

The incident could negatively impact the club's honey production for the spring semester.

Bee mentor Lloyd Knouse is currently babysitting Susquehanna's hives behind an electrified fence on his own property. The university said it plans to build its own electric fencing.

As for the bear, university officials have teamed up with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to bait a live trap with donuts.

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