Beekeeping around the world: Rafter beekeeping in Cambodia with Apis dorsata
Claire Waring and Daniel R Jump
14 to 18
In the UK, it can be difficult to explain to non-beekeepers the differences between honey bees, bumble bees and wasps, let alone complicating the matter further with the mention of solitary bees. Visiting Asia adds a whole new dimension to the equation with the opportunity to see several different species of honey bee. The thought of bees that build comb in the open air and protect it with a curtain of workers is totally alien to those who have only ever dealt with cavity-dwelling bees. Seeing the great colonies of the giant honey bees, Apis dorsata and Apis laboriosa, hanging from huge tree branches or extremely high cliffs is an experience that takes your breath away and is one that you never forget. Generally, these colonies are well out of reach of humans and the honey hunters have to take extreme measures to collect the honey. In Cambodia, we saw a colony that had been attracted to build its comb on a man-made rafter, set up at head height. This was another unforgettable experience and one that has not been recorded previously.