For farmers in African nations, otherwise lovable elephants can actually be extremely destructive. Between stomping on crops and helping themselves to a little lunch, the gentle giants can devastate entire fields.
For years, farmers turned to giant fences, huge moats, or good ol’ scare tactics to keep the elephants away. This often led to injuries and fatalities for farmers and elephants alike. But now a solution is being put in place, and it’s both totally genius and incredibly simple.
All the farmers need are… bees?
Zoologist Lucy King and fellow farmers had a realization that sparked the whole project: elephants are afraid of bees.
The reason behind this fear is that bees can get into an elephant’s trunk and sting them. So they avoid bees altogether. Even just the sound of buzzing is enough to send them in the opposite direction!
That’s the knowledge that gave rise to the Elephant and Bees Project in 2009. They began by hanging suspended bee hives every ten meters around a farmer’s field.
And they worked! So well, in fact, that the bee hive fences can now be found in Kenya, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and even Sri Lanka.
Deterring wayward pachyderms isn’t the only use of the bee hives, though. They also help pollinate the crops.
The farmers even earn a little extra money from the bees by harvesting their honey and selling it locally.
It’s a real win-win.
This project is a fantastic idea that helps the farmers and elephants stay out of each other’s way. However, they’re also looking for additional funding to build more bee hive fences, so head over to the Elephants and Bees Project to find out how you can help.
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