African Farmers Are Building Sustainable Beehive Fences to Protect Their Crops From Wild Elephants

Innovative bee boundaries are helping secure rural farmland, and saving pachyderm lives in the process.

Image via (cc) Flickr user BotheredByBees

You might think that because of their immense size and thick leathery hide, elephants wouldn’t mind bees the way human beings do. But, as it turns out, the tender insides of an elephant’s trunk and soft tissue around their eyes render pachyderms just as perturbed by the prospect of painful bee stings as the rest of us—so much so that many elephants steer clear of an area if they even hear the sound of bees buzzing.


Armed with this knowledge, a team of entrepreneurial zoologists have devised a way to help farmers in rural Africa protect their property from the persistent threat of wild elephants trampling their crops; It’s called the Beehive Fence, and it’s a remarkably simple solution to this elephantine problem.

Each fence consists of beehives suspended at 10-meter intervals along a laterally running metal wire, which can be set up to enclose farmland or other areas at risk of trampling. As an elephant approaches the fence, they will jostle the metal wire, which in turn will get the bees a-buzzing, causing the oncoming elephant to make an about-face, rather than risk getting stung.

The fence is the brainchild of Lucy King of the Elephants and Bees Project, itself a part of the Save the Elephants charity. According to the project’s website, not only do the fences help protect crops from being trampled, but they ultimately help protect the elephants themselves. That’s because farmers often resort to shooting firecrackers or guns in the air to frighten the animals off their farmland. This causes the elephants to become aggravated and charge, putting the farmers’—and the elephants’—lives at risk.

After a test run in 2009, Beehive Fences—now back by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund—have been installed across much of southeastern Africa, with discussions already taking place to expand into India. According to the EBP, the system boasts an 80 percent success rate, and is relatively inexpensive, costing between $100 and $500 for every 100 meters of fence, depending on (entirely locally sourced) materials. A complete how-to guide to building a Beehive Fence, authored by King, can be found here.

Beyond simply saving elephants and crops, Beehive Fences have a surprisingly positive secondary effect: Because the system relies on healthy, well-maintained bee populations in order to work effectively, communities in which the fences are installed have begun harvesting honey from their helpful hives, and are selling it to help support the project.

[via inhabitat, elephants and bees project]

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News