bee-fence-1a bees-and-elephants

Ahhhhhhh! Politicians!!!!!!
I see that two members of UKIP have had a little “altercation ” of sorts which has left one of them , Steven Woolfe ,recovering in hospital. This all happened, naturally enough,as you might imagine with a party such as UKIP, in Strasbourg, so , as they say over here in Norneverland , Ireland, that the “blood must have been up”. Totally understandable , then, eh?What?
Well , you can’t have an “altercation” without someone to “altercate” with and the other “altercee”(or maybe alter-cadet!) was obviously very excited too. UKIP , themselves are calling this “a rumbustious argument”, which is an interesting new political term . It’s a bit worse than a “kerfuffle” but it’s not quite a proper “slam-dunk” scuffle.Apparently another MEP (Member of the European Parliament) in his own party, engaged with him in combat and “punches were exchanged”.It’s all a bit vague at the moment .You know what politicians are like ; they’ll want to cobble and re-cobble a variation of words and sounds to make it play as though the two men had a nice cup of tea and and one of them spilled his over the other’s lovely new strides.Politicians don’t fight , after all. they are above such base concepts .They are the masters of debate….Isn’t that so?
Whichever way you look at it there’s plenty of publicity in it for a party who appear to be not very pleasant at all and I’m sure it’ll draw the non-voting football hooligan element in their droves .It’s the kind of voters they deserve.
In Norneverland , Ireland, I can’t actually remember any of our politicians having inter -party “altercations” or even fisticuffs between different parties. Here, they don’t go in for that kind of thing at all. That’s not to say that the odd politician hasn’t been murdered. At one time murder attempts ….some with a modicum of success …have been carried out on our various politicians here, but then we had a lot of inter-community strife and a daily diet of fear to deal with too, back in the bad old days..
Anyway …I’ve more important things to think about besides the pugilistic prowess and proclivities of the various battling politicians . My fuschia bushes had come to an end of their annual productivity. .The had become somewhat bedraggled within this past few weeks .and had grown sideways, substantially . It was time to cut them back before the hoary frosts came in. The honeybees had been tearing into them all summer and were still very busy , but there were only a few blooms left at the top. .The weather was still crystal bright, with clear open skies and they were still finding pollen in various corners , somewhere within the immediate three or four square miles. I had been feeding them supplementary sugar- syrup just in case , but only yesterday they were returning to the hives in some gusto , with bright pollen hanging from their knees.
That said , it was time for the fuschias to get their annual short back and sides before they actually blocked traffic. My neighbour pulled up to squint at the ongoing operation. “I was wondering when they’d be cut” ,he said. “I thought you’d be at that long ago”. “Just one word”., I returned .”Bees”…. The penny dropped!….. “I knew there’d be method in your madness”, he laughed . “Indeed!” said I….”The bees have to be looked after ,first”.
So it went.
Last night, I was sitting clasping a medicinal hot Bushmills whiskey to ward off a clammy chest-cold that I’d picked up during the recent visit of my Golden Grandchild and the consequent invasion of various miniature germ-laden nieces in her wake. I was soaking up the balming clove and honey fumes , sinking into a pleasant buzz ,while watching a nature programme .Part of it featured the the same shamanistic , “religious” chimpanzees that I’d written about some time ago. Various theories about their “sacred rituals” were proposed and it just may have something to do with the way early religious rituals developed in early mankind.Yep! interesting enough , I thought . Why not, indeed? We share a lot of the same DNA and characteristics with our chimpanzee cousins , so why not a sense of other-worldiness too ,alongside all that aggression and piling rocks around trees and waving hands at the heavens.?



There was also an equally wonderful idea , on the same programme ,that had been embraced by Kenyan farmers to protect their crops from elephants.Elephants, wonderful creatures that they are, and needing of salvation and conservation, are also the bane of the African farmer, because nothing seems to stop them cracking down fences and uprooting and consuming any available crops and foodstuffs. They are big fellows and require a lot of food and will think nothing of its provenance.There ‘s an age -old quasi-myth that elephants fear mice (just as they fear any wee beasties attempting to run up their sensitive trunk)and it was proposed that the introduction of lots of mice just might scare off the elephants.The problem was that by doing that, the little rodents would also begin to eat up the profits too, possibly on a greater scale . Electric fences didn’t seem to deter the elephants either .Once they accepted the first tingle of electricity , they merely trampled the fences to the ground. The new and novel deterrant was something of a stroke of genius to my mind…and right up my street .. This was a “Bee-Fence” which consisted of an interlocking fence which consisted of basic “top bar” hives made cheaply from locally sourced materials, such as logs and planking. The top bar hive is usually a rudimentary hive-box fitted with wooden slats that the bees anchor their comb on by “festooning” (it’s something they’ll sometimes do in my own beehives…they cling to each other in chains to better build ) in a group to hang the wax structure of the hive-cells.Hives are hung every ten metres and interconnected with wire to swing gently between posts .Sometimes they add dummy hives too . When an elephant touches either a hive ,or the wire ,the vibrationit sets off an attack from the bees and they swarm and chase the intruder stinging it in any sensitive area. Beekeepers know all about this behaviour and apparently ,elephants, being the intelligent creatures they undoubtedly are, quickly learn to avoid any of this pain..This was realised when it was noticed that elephants avoided certain honey-trees with beehives already in them.Apparently there has been an 80 percent success with this idea and as a bonus the farmers also have a ready honey supply as an additional crop and of course the honeybees pollinate and improve their crops and the environment generally , creating chains of interconnected wildlife.
Using the tiniest and most important creature on the planet to fend off the largest land mammal and steer it in a different direction, proves that sometimes nature will provide a simple solution to a difficult social problem.


Meanwhile , back in the world of the fighting politicians , I wonder what amount of energy these politicians will expend ,finding the right set of words to explain their boorish behaviour.