Bee as solution to Africa’s elephant problem

Last Updated: August 18, 2016
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In Africa and Asia, elephants are a big problem for the farmers, the huge mammals just eat fields of maize, beans, peas and cassava. How to live together, both farmers and

The bees could be an elegant and totally natural solution for the elephant problem in Africa, say the environmentalists. An African honeybee can sting the elephant in the tail, and a big mammal will remember the place where it was hurt forever. In other words, an elephant never steps on the farmer’s field again.

The research of Lucy King from the Oxford University revealed this natural solution in the frame of “The elephants and bees project”, which is the part of ‘Save the Elephants’ initiative. According to King, elephants “will avoid live beehives at all costs,” because they sting. The study says, 94% of elephants moved away from the source of bee sounds within 80 seconds.

A beenhive fence with farmer Karakara, Africa
A beehive fence with local farmer Karakara, Africa

So, scientists offered to the farmers an easy and natural way to weaponize the African honeybee. By the building a beehive fence, they can protect the fields of crops. In reality, a beehive fence is made up of interlinked beehives and ‘dummy’ beehives hung 10 meters apart and interlinked with a plain piece of fencing wire that, if disturbed, causes the whole fence to swing and release the bees.

Such an extremely cost-effective solution is successful in 80%, reports King. In this instance, elephants’ long memory serves farmers well.

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