WATCH: Sweets lure Rockville neighborhood’s black bear into trap

A black bear seen repeatedly hanging out in Rockville, Maryland, neighborhoods (at times destroying beehives) was lured into a trap with sweets and relocated on Monday morning.

Not honey, but instead doughnuts, molasses and vanilla were used to entice the animal into a bear trap, according to the Rockville City Police Department.

“We wish him all the best in his new journey,” police said after the animal was moved out of the city and Montgomery County.

The trapped animal is believed to be the same “large black bear” spotted repeatedly over the past week in the areas of Woodley Gardens and Great Falls Road. Since the furry visitor stuck around for a few days and didn’t show signs of moving on, the police department enlisted the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for help.

Bear in mind, police said, the decision to trap the animal was for both the community and the animal’s safety.

Police were able to track down the animal after it reportedly destroyed three beehives at a home in the 1700 block of Pitt Place.

Rockville homeowner Scott Butterworth has been raising bees for years, but this is the first time his hives attracted a bear.

It started Friday night, when his family heard noises in the backyard. On Saturday morning, they could see the damage, and knew it had to be the bear that had been roaming around Rockville.

On Saturday night, the bear struck again, ripping into all four hives on Butterworth’s property.

“It was clear the bear had found a tasty treat and was coming back again and again,” said Butterworth.

After the first visit, Butterworth had contacted Rockville police and officials with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, who’d been keeping tabs on the bear’s movements.

Natural resource officials placed a trap stocked with treats in the homeowner’s backyard on Sunday afternoon.

By Butterworth’s reckoning, the bear had dined on between 30 to 40 pounds of honey at his hives, so the bait for the trap had to be good.

The mix of sweets proved irresistible to the young bear, who was trapped late Sunday night.

“I felt bad for the bear,” said Butterworth, who explained that between the time the bear had been trapped and the time when DNR officials got to the property to begin the moving process, there were periods where the bear was banging around inside the trap, hoping to get out.

Butterworth said he did ask where the bear would be sent, but that DNR officials were tightlipped.

“What they did say was that they would take the bear far enough away that it would lose its ability to pick up its track and return,” he said.

As seen in a Facebook video from the police department, officers and DNR staff members loaded the bear trap into the back of a pickup truck Monday morning.

The next step for Butterworth is getting his beehives reassembled, and calming the bees.

“They are definitely upset right now, it’s true,” he said. “Now they’re going to get the next few days to kind of chill out.”

Butterworth’s honey-making operation is small — he’s not yet selling it at farmer’s markets, but the bear’s repeated visits do seem to provide a ringing endorsement.

“Bear approved and good for you too,” he said.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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