Bears on the Balcony?

In all the years we lived on the farm we only had a bear problem after I did three stupid things; well four I guess, but whose counting?

The first stupid thing was making homemade apple juice and burying the pulp in a trench in the garden. I thought I was experimenting with “composting in place” but turned out I was actually experimenting with “what will a black bear do when he smells apple pulp in my garden?”

Answer – the bear will drop everything he is doing and come to the garden to dig up the apple pulp. When the human shows up in the garden only one of them will scream and act startled (hint: not the bear).


The second stupid thing I did was move our compost bin from its moose-fenced lower garden enclosure to up by the house for “convenience”. The first few times I found vegetable scraps strewn about and the lid to the bin tossed open I blamed the wind. Or rodents. It was neither. Yup, it was a bear.


Two hives with greenhouse in background


The third stupid thing was storing honey supers in an unlocked shed, though in my defence I had no idea a bear could figure out how to open the door. Though I guess thinking that way just adds up to more stupid.

The fourth thing was not replacing our dog friends when they eventually got old and passed away.

A quiet yard filled with tasty treats is a bear friendly yard. Or as the saying goes, there are no problem bears, just problem humans.

teddy bears picnic

One evening I looked outside and there was the bear carefully peeling the coroplast off our greenhouse. He had his head and most of his shoulders inside before my clapping and yelling scared him off. If you can call slowly pulling his head out of the greenhouse, studying me for several irritated seconds and then sighing and finally ambling towards the woods “scaring off.”

I was so freaked out I made Darcy stand guard while I pulled up all the tomato plants, harvesting what I could and getting rid of the rest. In the days that followed I harvested everything outside the fence. I was a vegetable plucking madwoman. I didn’t see the bear again, so I don’t know if he finally gave up on us after having all his dining choices struck from the menu or if his lack of fear got him into trouble with a gun toting neighbour.

At least living in a Condo means I can grow tomatoes on the balcony without worrying about attracting bears…right? Right? Wrong.

Check out this link to a CBC video about a black bear scaling an apartment building in Whistler in search of tomatoes.


A co-worker spotted a black bear crossing the highway a couple weeks ago near Baldonnel, so these critters are already venturing out in the Peace. Keep your garbage and compost contained and your tomatoes…well, I guess we have a few months before we need to worry about those.

4 thoughts on “Bears on the Balcony?

  1. This was such an amusing post! I live in a proper urban setting so no bear fear for me, but I sure laughed out loud! I didn’t know bears liked tomatoes. Do they like tomatoes? And how come the bear didn’t touch your hives scavenging for honey?

    • Hi Ankita, I guess bears like berries and such, so maybe a tomato would be like a giant, juicy berry! They are very smart and I think that was why our bear was taking his time looking for easy food before risking the wrath of the bees by opening a live hive. There is no doubt that he eventually would have though. I think a bear’s nose is the only part a bee can actually attack with any affect. Anyway, we were in the process of selling our place and moving to town so we quickly found a local beekeeper to give the bees to, who came and transferred the hives to his property. Prior to that summer we hadn’t had any bear trouble, though the hives should have been fenced from the start. Thank you so much for reading this blog and for your kind comments! Hope you have a wonderful week. Shannon

      • It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for patiently explaining my seemingly thick headed doubt.
        I’m into gardening myself, so reading your blog has been fun actually 🙂

  2. NOT thick headed at all. We were left wondering the same thing…why didn’t the bear tear apart the hives first? Combination of luck and timing and having other things to eat is all we could think of!

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