Farms and crop fields that are near forests regularly have animals entering the terrain. If said animals are elephants, they give farmers more reason to worry than smaller pests.
To prevent larger animals, especially elephants, from entering fields, farmers often have their plantations surrounded with dangerous traps like electric fences that shock, paralyze or even kill trespassing animals.
Dr Lucy King from Africa came up with an ‘Elephants & Bees’ solution, that not only saves these animals and farms but also benefits other parties as well. She replaced electric fences with beehives, and also planted dummy beehives at regular intervals. Some projects under the name also used pre-recorded aggressive bee sounds, and all these methods have proven to be effective.
According to farmers, elephants that miss the hives, tug the surrounding rope ‘fences’ that trigger the nearby hives. The bees from the hives drive the elephant away.
According to K. Gopalakrisna Bhatt, “The beehive fencing has proved to be an effective method to tackle the increasing man-animal conflict, as the raids by the pachyderms have been controlled effectively.” The method has reportedly met with an 80% success rate.
Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), also took an interest in the project, building a 700m long bee fence in Mathamangalam in Poothadi Grama Panchayat.
The project inadvertently provides a home for displaced bees and is a safer option for elephants and farmers.