Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Elephants and bees


We are starting a high school in Kenya Africa and want to use bee hives along the perimeter of our school as a deterrent to elephants breaking through our fence line and raiding the crops.
What would be the recommended spacing along our fence line?
The hives will be incorporated into the fence.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Do you know that bees are an effective deterrent to elephants? Obviously I don’t have much hands on experience with them but it seems that bees would not be something that elephants would pay much attention to.

As for spacing it kind of depends on how aggressive the bees are as to spacing. In regard to aggressive bees my only frame of reference is Africanized honey bees here in the states. Most attacks seem to occur when people get within 8-10’ line of sight, and particularly when directly disturbed. So maybe shoot for that ballpark.


G’day @Jlawrence there is a really good site they are in Kenya you may be familiar with them?

There is also a manual _ http://elephantsandbees.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Beehive-Fence-Construction-Manual-2014-ss.pdf

I have read all the work they do it sounds a really good system and not just for bees but crops as well.

these are the Contact Details:


Dr Lucy King, MSc, DPhil.
Elephants and Bees Project Leader
Save the Elephants
P.O. Box 54667, Nairobi 00200, Kenya

+254 (0)720 441178


You learn something new every day.


No kidding! Who would a thunk?


I’m not sure if this bit of information is must help: Apparently, according to Wikipedia they grow chilis on the fence lines to keep elephants out.


Take some time to have a look at this documentary called Queen of the Savannah.
It has a really lovely piece about hives hanging along a perimeter fence and a few other interesting things about migratory African bees.

Edited…ah…I see you can’t play it on this site but if you click on the vimeo tab you can watch it



I wonder how often neither young queen survives the battle for supremacy. It seems as if they would be at some risk of being mortally injured when stinging each other.

Anyone know how the winning queen manages to sting without damage to herself?


I imagine it is not unlike a fencing match. The one that let’s their guard down first gets stung and loses.


Actually I think I remember seeing this program when it first came out. BBC do great wildlife videos especially David Attenborough, Sorry Sir David Attenborough.


Hi Sara, I’m just giving some thought to your question, at the same time thinking of all the emergency queen cells I saw in one hive yesterday. It must be like a battlefield when they start hatching. One of the first things I remember reading about bees is there is a 1 in 7 chance of a new queen failing. I always put that down to external mishaps like birds or something else. Maybe it’s possible that both the remaining queens getting mortally injured makes up part of the 1 in 7 failures. I confirmed a failure today.


I wonder how often neither young queen survives the battle for supremacy.
Often enough to never attempt to unite colonies without removing one queen.
You might have noticed that there were un-emerged queens in the offing incase neither survived.
The bees aren’t stupid. That’s why swarm cells are made in succession and why bees guard queens about to emerge, preventing that emergence, until the workers are sure their queen has survived or they have made a choice to cast in a few days when the first queen to emerge is ready to fly.
If you ever open a colony where queens are being guarded the workers lose control and you see lots of virgins emerge at once. If you close up, the colony will reduce the new queens themselves rather than letting each queen battle till one is victorious.


I think this is a forum for people from all over the world…
So why not ask this question on here, and hopefully someone with experience from Kenya or elsewhere with experience with bees and elephants will be able to help.


Thank you Valli
I knew there was something out there annd will contact Dr King for solutions to our problem.


How long is your fence ? Can you provide a pix. Also remember you want to keep them
out from the fence because it’s wise to work from the backs of your hive. What are you using to support your hives on ! Hives are healthier n easier to work if raise 1 to 2 foot off the ground.

Your hives can been couples with two inches apart or singles 3 or more feet apart. I’d look at a few internet vids n see how others have done … Then use those ideas that best fit your surroundings n need. Not sure how many or what type of hives you are using. Thus my more general ideas n suggestions.


@Gerald_Nickel The Elephant Bee fences go around crops so from a small plot to several acres.

Therefore Elephant Bee fences can be quite long and why some are dummy hives.

If the Eleies bump the fence the bees come out to investigate and apparently Eleies don’t like bee stings.

It is also a way to keep the 'phants out of communal areas - neat solution to a difficult problem


Wow Villi, thanks for the expanstion. We never stop learning do we !? I’m guessing having bees with attitude would be more than helpful as a fence line ! Appreciate you getting back in there with your notes.

Cheers from the Pacific NW,



According to some research you don’t even need the beehives. Elephants will run away from sound recordings of bees.


I had read about the bee Fences before this forum was set up - have a look at the links I put up - really fascinating and the African tribes benefit from the honey and wax as well.

I have emersed my self in all things bees for the last year - there is so much to learn