Sullia: Troubled by the wild elephant menace, farmers in Sullia are trying simple yet innovative experiments. They have installed rows of honey bee boxes in an effort to keep the jumbos off their fields.
For years, the farmers of Mandekolu, Ajjavara, Aaletti, and adjoining villages of Sullia taluk have seen elephants destroy crops. All efforts so far including installing a ditch, solar fence, cement boards, and others, have turned ineffective to keep the elephants away.
In such a situation, farmers of Sullia are trying to emulate the successful experiment of their counterparts in North Eastern India. Balachandra Devaragunda, a local village panchayat member said that such experiments have been successful in Assam and Meghalaya and “we are going to try it here as well.”
Accordingly, for the first time in Karnataka, beehives are being installed around the plantation of Mandekolu village of Sullia to ward off elephants.
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The farmers have been trained in beekeeping under the Hone Mission by the Khadi and Village Industries Board, under the leadership of DK and Udupi Hone Farmers Cooperative Society. Eligible farmers are being provided 10 boxes each with an active bee colony for cultivation. These will be installed on the routes usually taken by wild elephants to enter the fields.
Farmers are hoping the new experiment will end the elephant problem while supplementing their income from honey collected from these hives.
How does it work?
The brightly painted boxes with beehives are installed in a row and tied together with wires. If the elephants trip the wire or touch the boxes, the bees will swarm the elephants. The sound of the angry buzzing of bees annoys the elephants and they avoid coming back to such areas. being intelligent, elephants retreat whenever they see such boxes.
Along with the honeybee boxes, CCTC cameras are also being installed to monitor the movement of wild animals.