Honey Hunting: A Death-defying Adventure

Honey Hunting: A Death-defying Adventure

Himalayan Cliff Honey is produced by the Himalayan Giant Honey Bees (Apis dorsata laboriosa) from the nectars of Rhododendron, Bikh (Aconitum spp.), Pangra (Entada scanders) and Niramasi and other wild flowers found in high Himalayan range and harvested by the indigenous tribe from the Himalayan cliffs of Nepal.

This honey is very rare honey and the Himalayan giant bees collect the nectars from the flowers of the forests of Annapurna and Manaslu mountain range very far from human settlements and can be harvested only 1-2 times per year. 

In Nepal, there are at least 5 different honey bee species. The largest of them is The Giant Bee of Himalayas, Apis dorsata laborisa, a wild bee which builds huge nests on the overhanging rocks of cliff faces, in the high forests of Himalaya. These bees are commonly known as cliff bee or King bees.

Apis dorsata laboriosa is yellow in color with black strips on each abdominal segment. It builds a single comb, 1 to 1.6 m wide and 0.8 to 1.5 m long, underneath a stout branch of tall tree or building or water tower or cliff to protect their nests from top predators (according to FLETCHER in 1952; SEELEY et al. in 1982; CRANE in 1990; WONGSIRI et. al. in 1996). The comb is protected by several layers of protective curtains. The protective curtains maintain a constant brood nest temperature between 30-33 °C.

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