In a day, a fully grown elephant can eat roughly 350 pounds of vegetation per day. They spent the majority of their time eating plants and shrubs, and digging up roots to satiate their huge appetites. Understandably, they often turn to the convenient crops grown by farmers to meet their daily nutrition needs.
Farmers have tried just about everything to keep the large beasts off of their lands and out of their crops, but elephants are intelligent creatures and eventually find a way around the barriers.
Flashing lights only scare away the animals for a while. Loud and repetitive noises become a pattern, and even farmers who stand watch become less of a threat. Stone walls and electric fences have been tried, but they are expensive to maintain. Some have even resorted to planting chili pepper plants around their crops to deter the elephants, but the giants always seem to find a way around each and every fence.
The method plays on the elephant’s natural aversion to bees. Even the passive buzzing of a hive will cause an elephant to turn and head in the opposite direction. While most bee stings will not harm the elephant do to its thick skin, the area around their trunks is particularly vulnerable.
Farmers have invented a “bee fence” that houses many hives of bees along the borders of their lands. The hives are suspended in mid-air, and when an animal triggers the string attached to the hive, the entire box will shake, startling the bees and as a result, scaring the elephants away.
Placing the hives so near the crops helps to pollinate them, and the bees have an easier time providing food for their colonies. The surrounding vegetation flourishes due to the bees helping to pollinate the shrubbery and surrounding plants, so the elephants end up with more to eat instead of the crops! The cost of hosting and maintaining the beehive fences is offset – over time – by selling the honey as well.
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