Do You Fear Bees? So Do Elephants!
fear bees

Elephants are terrified of bees.


Do you fear bees? If so, it is called apiphobia. And elephants have it bad! They are terrified of the tiny insects which is interesting since an elephant is so large.
Why would they be afraid when their skin is so thick? Well, the bees get in their eyes,  up their long trunks and in their giant ears. When they sting, it hurts the soft tissue of the elephant.  Plus they make loud buzzing noises which frighten the elephants. Not good.
And to learn more about elephants, read our Explore & Learn page on Elephants.
fear bees

Bees can help elephants by scaring them away from farmers crops.

How Can Bees Help Elephants?

As elephants and humans compete for scarce land and water resources, they come into conflict, sometimes with fatal results. It doesn’t take long for an elephant to ruin a farmer’s crops. 
 So how can we keep elephants away from farmer’s crops? Dr. Lucy King, a biologist with Save The Elephants, observed elephants avoiding trees with beehives. Ah-ha! Maybe elephants fear bees?

Researchers erected beehive fences with active hives around field crops. The results were phenomenal. The elephants avoided the hives and left the farmer’s crops alone.

A Win/Win

fear bees

Farmers are harvesting their bee hives . Photo: Ollivier Girard/CIFOR/Flicker

A simple idea that is making a huge difference in the lives of farmers and elephants. It just goes to show, each of us can make a difference, just like Lucy King did. 

As an added benefit, the farmers harvest the honey from the hives which gives them additional income. A win/win. 


One Other Fun Fact

Recently researchers also found elephants stay away from crops during a full moon.  They believe the elephants understand there is a greater risk of detection by humans during a moon lit night.  Pretty smart elephants. 

fear bees

Elephants raid farmers crops less often during a full moon.