The incredible honey hunters of the Himalayan foothills
by Bec Crew
Twice a year, locals in central Nepal risk their lives high up in the Himalayan foothills to harvest honey produced by the world’s largest honeybee.
Growing up to 3 cm (1.2 in) in length, the Himalayan cliff honey bee of Nepal is the world’s largest honeybee.
Found only in the foothills of the Himalayas, building their homes at altitudes of between 2,500 and 3,000 m (8,200 and 9,800 ft) and foraging as high up as 4,100 m (13,500 ft) above the ground, these insects have a unique ability to thrive at incredible heights.
The Himalayan cliff honey bee is the only species in the world to produce a type of honey called red spring honey, and it cannot be reproduced by commerical beekeepers due to the high altitudes that give it its unique properties. Said to be "intoxicating and relaxing", red spring honey is understandably very valuable, and twice a year, honey hunters from the Gurung population of Nepal risk their lives to harvest it up in the foothills…
(read more: Science Alert! - Australia and New Zealand)
photo by Andrew Newey