African honeybees as a mitigation method for elephant impact on trees

Researchers at the University of Oxford, in collaboration with Save the Elephants, Elephants Alive and Witwatersrand University, have found that African honeybees act as a mitigation method for elephant impact on large trees.

The team used the marula tree -a favourite amongst elephants - and tested the levels of impact such as trees having their bark stripped, branches snapped or even being toppled over. This was the first study to analyse the use of a combination of both active and dummy beehives as a mitigation method.

It is known that elephants actively avoid contact with honeybees, staying clear of crop fields surrounded by beehive fence-lines and moving away from the sounds of swarming honeybees. Whilst the financial cost and maintenance required for the beehive mitigation method are greater than that or wire-netting, the beehives can provide honest as an additive benefit on a small-scale usage level.

To read the full paper, published in Biological Conservation, visit: