The Northeast Frontier Railway is having a rather unique problem and in turn, came up with a very unique solution. The rail company is having a big problem with elephants crossing the tracks. They obviously don’t want to run the animals over, but recently, they are seeing an abundance of trains colliding with the animals trying to cross the tracks as trains are approaching, so the company is now using a sound system that puts out bee buzzing sounds to shoo the elephants from the tracks.
Triggering the Bee Sound System
The company has installed a “honey bee sound system” on the railway in areas where the elephants have been frequently spotted. When local villagers see the elephants in the area, they alert the company and the sound system is triggered. It is pretty remarkable, as the sound is similar to a swarm and is blasted via the sound system (you can see the system in play on YouTube, click here).
Are Elephants Afraid of Bees?
The myth goes that elephants are afraid of mice. We all grew up watching cartoons of elephants freaking out every time a mouse went by. That, however, is more myth than fact. Most experts would tell you this is more about being surprised than being afraid. What is not a myth, however, is the fact that elephants are afraid of bees.
When elephants hear the buzzing sound of bees, they immediately change their behavior. You will see their ears start flapping, they will start to kick their fit around to stir up dust, and start to make loud noises, all in an effort to scare away the bee. Now the bee cannot penetrate the elephants hide, but there are other areas where they can do harm.
Keep in mind, the natural habitats for elephants are in countries where African bees are prominent. These are far more aggressive than the European honey bee we have here in the United States. When they go after elephants, they can go after the tender parts of the trunk, its ears, and even its eyes. And, make no mistake about it, the elephant will feel those stings.
The idea of using honey bees to scare elephants is not exactly new. Farmers started using honey bees to keep elephants away from their crops several years ago. By lining their fences with beehives, they found that they were able to reduce the attacks on their crops by the big beasts by about 80 percent. This is a far better and cheaper alternative than using electric fencing, not to mention it is not as dangerous to the animal.