Slide background Log beehive fence being tested in India to stop elephants from entering farmland Log beehive fence being tested in India to stop elephants from entering farmland

India Beehive Fences

Inspired by Dr. Lucy King’s experiment, pre-recorded bee (Apis mellifera) sounds were broad casted during crop raiding events and showed an instant withdrawal of elephants from the crop fields. Due to success, low cost beehives in clay pots, bamboo and loghives are being constructed to deter the elephants and provide economic benefits to the farmers. The farmers and forest department staff have found the suggested measures to be effective for preventing crop damage by elephants.

“We are heaving a sigh of relief, as farmers themselves have taken up the responsibility of driving away elephants,” said Forester Ashok Srigavi. A study in the project area demonstrates that 70% of the farmers have benefited from using these methods. 


LINE CROPPED

Line of beehives protecting field in India – Photo by Riju Nair

A report from a local farmer explains how elephants touched the fence, the reaction of the bees was enough to scare the elephants away and they have not returned since. 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 Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), inspired by the success of Sankarankutty’s study built a 700m long bee fence in Mathamangalam in Poothadi Grama Panchayat using live bees as a method to prevent the on-going concern of marauding elephants. The success of the model and the financial backing from the Forest Department and NABARD has provided motivation to expand the project to a second phase in Mathamangalam and Orkadavu villages involving 500 beehives. ATMA is planning to sell the honey under the “Elephant friendly” brand name, and supplying additional revenue to the farmers.