Summer is the time of year when hungry bears roam through backyards, rummage through trash bins, and even break into homes to get food. This is especially true in San Gabriel Valley foothill cities. Also, they may roam through campsites searching for food.
Not only can bears be a nuisance, they can also present a danger to pets, livestock, and humans. Did you know that bears can smell food from up to 20 miles away? They can easily tear a house door off its hinges if they smell food left out on a kitchen counter or table. Other wildlife such as mountain lions, deer, coyotes, and raccoons are also drawn to the smell of food and food waste.
Tips for Bear-Proofing Your Home and Campsite
To protect your home, follow these simple tips from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
- Wait to put trash out until the morning of collection day.
- Keep your waste and recycling containers clean to reduce odors that draw wildlife.
- Don’t leave trash, groceries, or pet food in your car.
- Clean outdoor grills after each use and store them in a garage or shed when not in use.
- Only provide bird feeders from November through March, and try to make them inaccessible to bears.
- Don’t leave any scented items outside, even non-food items such as suntan lotion, insect repellent, or candles.
- Install motion-detector alarms, lighting, or sprinklers.
- If you have citrus trees, pick citrus off the trees as soon as it is ripe. Promptly collect fruit that falls and use or dispose of it properly.
- Securely block crawl spaces and other openings around buildings where animals could get in or even hibernate.
For campsites, Fish and Wildlife has these tips:
- Never keep food or toiletries in your tent. Use bear lockers if available, or the trunk of your car. Check with camp or park personnel first.
- Haul garbage out of camp regularly.
- Clean dishes and store food and garbage immediately after meals.
- Clean your grill after each use.
For more information on discouraging wildlife from searching for food around your home or campsite, contact California Fish and Wildlife at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Bear.