The Latest Buzz about the Bee Project

We were honored and thrilled recently when the Disney Conservation Fund awarded our Bee Project with support for 2023 and 2024!!  


Since 2020, we have been working with Citizen Scientist farmer-beekeepers who live along the border of Kibale National Park and who maintain apiaries that, in conjunction with trenches, intend to serve as natural barriers against elephant crop-raiding.

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We gather data about honey bee health in order to try to understand whether these “bee fences” can be effective over the long term at maintaining good neighborly relations between the elephants (who are terrified of bees!) and the communities of subsistence farmers just outside of KNP.  ​Thanks to Disney, we will continue gathering data about the bees while also expanding the project to collect survey data about elephant incursions.  Our Bee Project Team, will begin tracking all incidents of elephant crop-raiding and interviewing affected farmers, both in areas protected by bee fences and in areas without them.  With this information, we hope to gain more insight into just how successful are our fierce winged guards at keeping the peace!

We also have been working with Citizen Science beekeepers in a region more arid than the rainforest conditions of Kibale National Park, adjacent to Queen Elizabeth National Park.  The QENP beekeepers are collecting the same kinds of information about bee health as the KNP beekeepers – ability to maintain healthy temperature and humidity using BroodMinder™ devices, data from physical hive checks (e.g., number of combs where the queen bee has laid brood eggs, number of combs where the bees have gathered and stored pollen, number of combs filled with honey, presence or absence of pests like ants or beetles).  Our hope is that by collecting data from a more arid region, we can isolate the effects that rainfall may have on bee health – especially as rainfall seems to be increasing around KNP as a result of climate change.
We are so grateful to the Akron Zoo for supporting this expansion of our Bee Project into QENP and to the other amazing organizations who also support our Bee Project, the National Geographic Society, the Oklahoma City Zoo, and IDEA WILD!