Why Do Bears Break Into Tahoe Homes?

Bear Busters was born in 2009 in response to the growing “bear problem” in North Lake Tahoe. We’ve been the region’s leader in electric bear deterrent solutions ever since. Over the years we’ve learned a great deal about how bears interact with our homes. We’ve also noticed some specific behaviors that tend to increase the chances of a break-in. In this blog post, we’ll explain why and how bears are breaking into our homes and review best practices to protect your home and keep bears wild.


Why would a bear want to break into your home? To understand why a bear would break into a home, it helps to put yourself in the bear’s shoes. Imagine spending an entire day walking through the mountains in search of food. The scenery is awesome, but you’re not interested in views… you’re hungry. Somewhere along the way, you get a whiff of something delicious so you decide to investigate. In the neighborhood, you discover a huge plate of BBQ scraps and a melting tub of ice cream sitting on someone’s porch. You decide the coast is clear and immediately devour everything, including the plate. With all those calories, you won’t have to eat again for days! There are hundreds of houses in that neighborhood and only a few seem to have any scary humans around. You can just hang out in a nearby meadow all day and pop in at night for a meal anytime you want!


Food is the primary reason bears break into homes, specifically because of the tremendous benefit they get from consuming calorie-rich human food. Just like humans, bears are constantly trying to minimize risk and maximize reward. They’d much rather dig through your garbage for ice cream than break though your kitchen window and steal it out of your freezer. Unfortunately, as Lake Tahoe residents have gotten better at securing their trash, bears have turned to the next logical source, your home.


How do they do it? Bears are a lot smarter than most people think. Bears are also capable of climbing trees and decks, squeezing through openings only slightly larger than their skulls, and operating door knobs and window latches with their bare paws (no pun intended). The most common access points we see bears target are doors and windows. The older and weaker the better! Garage doors and storage areas aren’t as common because food typically isn’t stored there; however, we do get a few of these calls each year. Several factors come into play when considering how easy it would be for a bear to break into your home, including: the strength of the window/door frame, the type of latch or handle, the type and amount of glass, and more. Bears use their claws, paws, and sheer brute force to pick, scratch, break, and ultimately open your doors and windows. Once they’ve found or created a weak point, they’re in.


So, what can Tahoe homeowners and renters do to prevent break-ins and keep bears wild?

  1. Eliminate attractants around your home such as pet food, unsecured garbage, and dirty BBQs.
  2. Lock your doors and windows, even when you’re only going to be gone for a little while.
  3. If you or anyone in your neighborhood has experienced bear break-ins recently, consider protecting your home with an electric bear deterrent system.
  4. If you have a garden, beehive, or chicken coop, consider installing an electric bear deterrent system to protect them as well.
  5. Most importantly, be responsible. Everyone in this community, including the bears, are depending on it.


If you’d like to learn more about how we can help protect you and your home from nosy bears, schedule a free consultation by visiting our Contact Page or calling us (530) 592-9844.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *