Bee-ware: bees keep African elephants at bay

Nov 22, 2011
No need for big muscles or high-tech contraptions when it comes to protecting African plantations from elephants: a British biologist has discovered that buzzing bees will keep the beasts at bay.

No need for big muscles or high-tech contraptions when it comes to protecting African plantations from elephants: a British biologist has discovered that buzzing bees will keep the beasts at bay.

Lucy King, a researcher at Oxford University, was honoured Tuesday by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the western Norwegian town of Bergen for devising a wire fence connected to apiaries that begin to buzz when an elephant trips the wire.

The elephant may be the biggest land animal on the planet, weighing in at some seven tonnes, but it is terrified of bees and makes off at the first hum of the insect.

Pachyderms may have thick hides, but bees are attracted to the sensitive areas around their eyes and inside their trunks.

King's discoveries have enabled several Kenyan villages to protect their from herds of elephants which often ruin their fields and deprive the local populations of their livelihoods.

"Her research underlines how working with, rather than against, nature can provide humanity with many of the solutions to the challenges countries and communities face," UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said in a statement.

Bergen is this week hosting a conference organised by the Convention of the Conservation of of , also known as the Bonn Convention.

Explore further: PHAs can help save the Chesapeake

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Elephants' fear of angry bees could help to protect them

Oct 08, 2007

At a time when encroaching human development in former wildlife areas has compressed African elephants into ever smaller home ranges and increased levels of human-elephant conflict, a study in the October 9th issue of Current Bi ...

Beehive fence deters elephant raiders

Jun 05, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A fence made out of beehives wired together has been shown to significantly reduce crop raids by elephants, Oxford University scientists report.

Elephants ready to rumble at sound of bees (w/ Video)

Apr 26, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- For the first time elephants have been found to produce an alarm call associated with the threat of bees, and have been shown to retreat when a recording of the call is played even when there ...

Study: Elephants might seek revenge

Feb 16, 2006

An increasing number of incidents involving African elephants attacking humans is leading some scientists to believe the animals may be seeking revenge.

Elephant numbers halved

Jun 28, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Half the elephants from West and Central African savannahs have vanished in the past 40 years, scientists report in PLoS One.

Missing: 2,000 elephants

Dec 11, 2008

Elephants in Zakouma National Park, the last stronghold for the savanna elephants of Central Africa's Sahel region, now hover at about 1,000 animals, down from an estimated 3,000 in 2006. Ivory poachers using automatic weapons ...

Recommended for you

Moves to automate identification of Saimaa ringed seals

2 hours ago

Moves are being made to automate the identification of Saimaa ringed seals. This would bring new kinds of real-time information on how the extremely endangered species behaves, the movements of individual seals, and what ...

Ferns may hold key to land rehabilitation

2 hours ago

Ferns may have potential in rehabilitating land following work by WA researchers who investigated how ferns are able to survive in semi-arid environments of Australia.

Pakistan customs bag record haul of illegal turtle meat

4 hours ago

Pakistani authorities are investigating after nearly two tonnes of freshwater turtle meat—a record haul taken from more than 4,000 animals—was seized from smugglers at Karachi port, officials said Friday.

The environmental impact of cats on native wildlife

5 hours ago

A team of researchers, led by Dr Wayne Linklater from the Centre for Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology at Victoria University of Wellington, recently surveyed veterinarians and cat owners to understand ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.