If a bear wanders up to the door you've left open for a summer breeze to blow through, don't expect him to knock.
The North Shore has seen two recent incidents of bears entering homes via open doors, one on June 10 and one just last week. Bear advocates say doors and windows should be left closed, despite summer heat.
"If a resident has a door open and a bear walks in, it's not meaning to do any harm. It's just following its nose if you have some smelly food around," said Tony Webb, chairman of the North Shore Black Bear Network. "We're advising people in the hot weather, keep those doors closed if you're in bear areas, and most of the North Shore is a bear area."
In the most recent incidents, no one was hurt, damage was minimal and the bears got away, but that's not always the case, Webb said.
Last year, a North Shore resident found a bear had come in through an open door and "caused a hell of a lot of damage overnight," Webb said. Conservation officers came and had to kill the bear - something Webb's group tries to prevent.
"If a bear goes into a house, it's crossed the line and that's very bad news for the bear because they are usually put down in those circumstances. We don't want that to happen and we don't want people to have the inside of their house damaged or (have people0 injured."
To keep bears away the inside of homes, residents need to first stop inviting them to the outside, Webb said, referring to bear attractants that people still leave out casually. That can include bird feeders, fruit trees, unsealed garbage cans and poorly managed composts.
"There's nothing wrong with a bear walking down the street if he keeps going but if you've got attractants around, he won't keep going. He'll come and investigate those attractants," he said.
The best remedy NSBBN recommends is getting a bear-resistant garbage can. Bears can still smell their delicious contents, but they quickly learn they won't be able to break in, meaning they likely won't come back to try again.
"I've seen bears bash them around and give up and walk away in disgust. That's what we want because he won't bother to come back usually," Webb said.
All told, Webb said the public is much more informed about bear safety now, with most people knowing not to panic or run when they see a bear. Still, new challenges come up that groups like NSBBN must address.
Webb noted the growing trend for backyard chicken coops and beekeeping in North America. Even when done extremely well, they are potent bear attractants. The only way to combat the threat from bears, Webb said, is an electric fence. (10,000 volts should do.)