Black bear spotted in Ohio Township, Sewickley Hills

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | 12:18 PM

Lifelong Ohio Township resident Jocelyn Smith had heard about bear sightings from neighbors, but she hadn’t seen one herself until Tuesday evening.

“A neighbor saw it and called me, kind of yelling, like, ‘There’s a bear in your yard!’ So I ran. I had to go to the second floor to get a good view,” Smith said.

From the second story of her home, Smith watched as a black bear investigated a beehive maintained by her and husband, Bob. She said the bear toppled over the boxes containing bees, then seemed to become irritated as they swarmed around him.

“He was agitated and dove back into … the tree line,” she said. “He came back into yard, sat and was swatting bees from his head. He went back to the hive, got frustrated and ran. I lost sight of him.”

Smith heard from residents of the neighboring Diamond Run housing development that the bear made his way there. She called police, whom she said were aware of other sightings.

From her training as a beekeeper, Smith said the bear seemed to be young by the way he let the bees scare him off. A dog owner, she said she’ll be cautious now, especially when going outside in the evening.

“I’ll make sure to have the dog on a leash, and turn all of the lights on,” Smith said.

The Ohio Township police department addressed the bear sightings Tuesday night in a post on their Facebook page.

“We are investigating reports of a black bear in both the Sewickley Hills and Ohio Township areas this evening. The bear was last observed near the Ohio Township Community Park and Diamond Run areas. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has since been notified this evening,” it reads.

Ohio Township police Sgt. Adam Beck said Wednesday evening that no sightings were reported through the day. He said that a bear moving through the area in search of food is not uncommon, and that the animals are usually docile.

“You’ll only see them get aggressive if the cub has gotten away, the mama bear is going to chase it,” he said. “The mama bear gets a little upset.”

Beck said the Game Commission set a trap in case the bear comes back, but that’s “unlikely.”

“The last time they saw him, he was headed north,” he said.

According to the state Game Commission’s website, anyone who comes into contact with a bear has two options.

“The first is to make loud noises or shout at the bear from a distance – like you’d react to a dog getting into your trash. The second option is to leave the bear alone, and clean up the bear’s mess after it leaves.”