How to Keep Bears out of the Garbage

If you live in a rural area near a woods or forest in certain parts of the United States, you may have problems with bears on your property. Although bears tend to be shy and prefer to avoid people, they may be lured by the smell of garbage cans or other food.

Many bears are innately timid creatures.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect your garbage — and as a result, your home and inhabitants — from bears.

  1. Keep pet food inside the house, if possible. For example, dog bowls should not be left on a deck or patio as the bear may be lured to the property by the pet food and then meander to the garbage. Remove bird feeders between April and November. Birds have ample natural food except during the winter, when bears are hibernating.

  2. Wait until the morning of collection to put garbage outside.

  3. Use a secondary container for garbage. Plastic garbage bags are easy to penetrate, so place them in a sturdy can or disposal bin that fastens with a lid.

  4. Clean outdoor grills and patio space after each use. Sweep crumbs and scrub the grill to remove bits of food, the scent of which may attract bears.

  5. Enclose any compost piles with an electric fence. Avoid putting meat, fish, melon rinds and other smelly discards in the pile. Add lime to the pile to reduce odor and turn it regularly to expedite decomposition.