Black bears have caused thousands of dollars of damage and killed just as many bees after cleaning out honey hives in Hainesville, N.B., last week.

Tavis Marr owns a syrup company and usually has 52 hives, but since the bears decided to use them as a snack, he now has less than 40.

“The bears aren’t actually after the honey at this time of the year. They’re actually after the brood, which is the babies and the larvae for the pure protein. They will eat the honey afterwards,” says Tavis Marr.

The 300,000 bees that populated the hive are all dead.

“If we can save any of the frames, we’ll save them. Unfortunately once a bear touches them, the bees don’t want to go on them again,” says Marr. “Monetary, we’re probably looking at $3,500 to $5,000 just in damage, without the honey and the wax and everything included.”

Wildlife biologist Kevin Craig says unlike the bees, there are plenty of bears in New Brunswick right now.

“We have a healthy population of black bears in New Brunswick of approximately 17,000 animals. So they're much more apparent and on the landscape than most people see them. And bears will live at, generally a much higher density than people are prepared to live with them,” says Craig.

Tavis Marr says he had an electric fence but the volts weren’t enough to stop the hungry bears from getting in.

The destroyed frames that have honeycomb left in them are being used to lure the bears into bear traps set by the Department of Energy and Resource Development

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown