It turns out bears really do love honey – it’s not just a cute characteristic of Winnie-the-Pooh. And not only will they do anything to get it, but they’ll also eat beehives and bees to get protein.
After having one too many honey-stealing bears on his hands, a Turkish beekeeper decided to take a unique approach to his problem.
He set up a nighttime taste test to see which flavor they liked best.
Ibrahim Sedef lives in the province of Trabzon in Turkey. After bears continued to rob him of honey, he estimated his losses in the thousands of dollars over the years.
It didn’t matter which tricks he tried – even locking the beehives in a metal cage didn’t work. It turns out bears are pretty strong. And like most of us, they’re dedicated to getting their snacks.
“The bears became stronger by eating our honey. Now they climbed onto the hard-to-reach container, where they also ate the honey,” he told DHA.
He even left out alternative snacks for them, hoping to distract them from the luxury nibbles. But bread and fruit just weren’t enough for the bears. Of course, they ate it, they just wanted the sticky condiment too.
“I put outside several kinds of bread. For instance, there’s a kind of Trabzon-style bran bread prepared with whole-wheat. It has always been their first choice among different breads. Their second choice is the sourdough bread, and their last choice is the bread bought from the market,” said Sedef.
If you can’t beat ’em…feed ’em?
Sedef is also an agricultural engineer and becoming more and more fascinated by the palettes of his neighborhood bears. So in an effort to see what kind of honey might be attracting them most, he set up a little experiment.
A taste test, if you will.
He set out 4 bowls and night vision cameras to capture the bears’ at their buffet, noting which honey they went for first.
Three of the bowls contained different types of honey – flower, chestnut, and Anzer – and one had cherry jam in it.
If nothing else, the video made the beekeeper’s story go viral. After all, who doesn’t want to know what they chose?
It’s not a formal scientific experiment, but it would give Sedef a chance to see what his houseguests were really after.
And as it turns out, bears have some pretty expensive taste.
According to The Guardian, the bears prefer the very expensive Anzer honey, which is “…produced from the nectar of 90 flowers that grow only in the mountains of the Anzer plateau.”
According to Ahval News, Anzer honey costs roughly $171 per kilo and is “among the most expensive honeys on the market” (The Guardian estimated a higher price of $300/kg).
That wasn’t good news for Sedef, who used more nighttime tricks to see if he could get the bears to alter their habits. Alas, they were never impressed with the cheap cherry jam. And no matter what he tried, they always preferred the luxury honey.
“I changed the place of the trays and the tables, and every time they would start with the Anzer honey… I said these big boys know their stuff, they prefer the expensive and quality honey. These big guys sure have good taste,” Sedef told the news outlet.
And who’s going to argue with this?:
From beekeeping to bear-watching
Even after the bears cost him money and destroyed his good, Sedef says he can’t be mad. Watching them on camera has given him a new appreciation for the uninvited dinner guests:
“When I watch the video, I forget all the damage they do, I love them,” he admitted.
It doesn’t seem that the honey buffet has solved Sedef’s problem, but at least it’s given him a new hobby!
Be sure to scroll down to see some of the footage he collected.
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