Addo launches beehive project

Posted on 10 January 2020

A beehive initiative has been launched by Addo Elephant National Park’s resident honorary ranger in partnership with SANParks.

Although the myth that elephants are scared of mice is not true, they do instinctively avoid honey bees and the rangers at Addo are using this information to protect a 900-year-old tree.

The conservation project wasn’t kicked off by the need to protect the boerboon tree from damage inflicted by the great grey beasts, even though it will reap the benefits, but rather by the need address the problem of bees building hives near staff and tourist accommodation.

‘We decided to start a conservation project based on relocating the problem bees into hives that were safe and badger proof,’ said Addo Honorary Rangers project co-ordinator Clive Gibson in an interview with Herald Live.

‘This is why we decided to construct the hives out of concrete. Badgers make mincemeat of wooden hives.’

Eastern Cape Motors provided the moulds for the hives which were made out of ‘a special concrete mixture’ by Glendore Sand.

Known as Bunka Hives these bee homes weigh 160kg making them difficult to open, which will protect the insects and their honey from badgers and baboons.

In addition, the honey produced will be organic, as the hives don’t need to be treated with preservatives. Once the sweet stuff is sold, the income will help fund the project’s expansion.

Five hives have been installed at Addo so far (four of them around the boerboon tree) and the rangers plan to add another 65 before expanding the initiative into other parks.

‘The ellies are afraid of the bees, which sting them on the soft parts of their bodies like the ends of their trunks,’ said Gibson.

Honey bees have been used as a natural deterrent for crop-raiding elephants in Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi to reduce conflict between humans and ellies based on research by Dr Lucy King, an Oxford University research associate. King, who grew up in Somalia, Lesotho and Kenya, has done extensive research into elephants’ avoidance of bees.

You can find out more about this initiative at


Image: Unsplash

yoast-primary - 1004431
tcat - Nature And Conservation
tcat_slug - nature-and-conservation
tcat2 - Travel news
tcat2_slug - travel-news
tcat_final -