Samara Private Game Reserve will 'employ' bees to help animals from tearing down trees.  Picture: Supplied.
Samara Private Game Reserve will 'employ' bees to help animals from tearing down trees. Picture: Supplied.

Samara Private Game Reserve employs nature’s smallest guards

By Travel reporter Time of article published Apr 1, 2020

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Bees will save key tree species at a South African game reserve. The move by Samara Private Game Reserve will help animals from tearing down trees. 

The game reserve in the Eastern Cape will use “nature’s smallest guards”, which is a widely used weapon in the conservation arsenal. 

One may ask, how exactly does a bee stop a hungry animal from tearing down a tree? The reserve revealed that many animal species were known to avoid beehives because of the danger of being stung. This concept has been put to the test many times with great success. 

In Kenya, Dr Lucy King erected a 400m beehive fence in Gazini in 2016, the first of its kind. The erection kept a community safe from elephant invasions. While a beesting can’t do much to an elephant’s thick hide, it can when it hits sensitive parts like the elephant’s trunk, eyes and mouth. 

“At Samara, the practice is going to be used to protect the reserve’s iconic tree species. The first two beehives will be planted at Wolwekloof, where they protect two witgat (Boscia Oleiodes) trees. One of these trees is a magnificent specimen, estimated to be around 800 years old,” the statement revealed.  

Samara expects between 33 000 and 40 000 bees in each swarm, with a population comprising the queen, the male drones which are responsible for breeding, and the workers, who guard the hive. As each hive grows, a new queen will emerge after fighting the reigning monarch, taking part of the swarm with her to establish a new hive. This is how Samara’s bee population will grow. 

Reserve Manager Alan Feldon, who has extensive experience in beekeeping, will oversee the project. 

The reserve also wants to produce their honey, which will be around 10 kilograms of honey produced from each hiveSamara Private Game Reserve is located on 70 000 acres of wilderness in the Great Karoo, offering breathtaking views over the Plains of Camdeboo. 

Situated approximately 270km from Port Elizabeth and 53km from the nearest town of Graaff Reinet, Samara offers easy access to visitors on excellent roads.



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