WildSafeBC Says Managing Fruit Trees, Waste Will Help Protect Your Home From Bears


As we pass midsummer, WildSafeBC is sending out a reminder to keep your bear attractants under control.Krystle Mitchelitis is the community coordinator for the Qathet Regional District of WildSafeBC.

She says keeping your garbage indoors until garbage collection day is one of the most effective ways to keep black bears away from your property.

“In our district for curbside pickup, they ask that the garbage be taken out by 7:30 am, but leaving it outside the night before can lead to wildlife entering,” said Mitchelitis. “Otherwise, if you have a lot of garbage, you can take it to the transfer station regularly.”

She also suggests removing organics from your garbage and composting it instead.

If you have any leftover vegetables or fish, for example, she says you can wrap them up and freeze them until trash or compost day.

“Just keep those smelly things out of the trash,” she says.

In June, the BC Conservation Officer Service responded to 3,068 calls for conflict with black bears, down slightly from the 3,495 in June 2019.

Seventy-eight bears had to be destroyed by COS officers.

The fruit is also a major attractant

And while there is a lot of talk about bears and trash, WildsafeBC says it’s also important for people to understand just how much of a problem fruit trees can be when it comes to wildlife, if not properly. managed.

Once bears get a reward from a fruit tree, they return to the tree over and over again.

Fruit may appear to be a natural food source for these bears, but the fruit in our backyards is habit-forming in wildlife.

Wildsafe says this is something dangerous and cannot be undone.

Simple solutions to support habituation include:

  • pick fruit and let it ripen inside or pick fruit daily as it ripens. Cleaning up the manna is also very important, as is pruning trees to control growth (which makes them easier to harvest).
  • If you don’t want your trees to produce fruit, prune it vigorously or spray the spring flowers with a garden hose to knock the flowers off the tree.
  • Even consider replacing your tree with a native variety, without fruit or nuts. If you are not harvesting the crop, keep in mind that organics should be composted rather than placed with the regular garbage.

Electric fences are also an easy way to protect your fruit trees from wildlife.

Visit wildsafebc.com/electric-fencing for guidelines and checklists for electric fencing.

You are asked to report conflicts with wildlife to the Conservation Officer Department at 1-877-952-7277.

You can also report conflicts with wildlife other than bear, cougar, coyote, or wolf online at WildSafeBC’s Wildlife Alert Program (WARP), available here.

This program allows you to see what wildlife has been reported in your neighborhood and be alerted to new sightings.

qathet Regional District WildSafeBC is supported by the qathet Regional District, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, and the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.


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