Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 1:31PM
[chuck] in Apis dorsata, Danau Sentarum, Science, honey

The fisherman at Danau Sentarum (see Danau Sentarum and Bubu Weaver) collect honey produced by Apis dorsata, the giant honey bee.  These bees are almost an inch long and have an excruciating sting.  I went honey hunting with a group of fisherman in the early 1990's.  We motored over in our boat to the hive and two collectors scaled the tree.  They both carried smoking torches to subdue the bees so they wouldn't get stung (so much). They alternated rubbing the smoking torch over the hive and hacking at it with their parangs to free it from the branch.

I was calmly sitting in the boat taking in the whole process, when all of a sudden the entire hive fell into the boat. Bees and all. Needless to say, everybody jumped in the lake, much to the amusement of the two collectors up the tree. I was later told, "they always do that".  [NOTE: The photo was taken during the dry season when the lake is low and all the house are floating several meters up in the air.  Those are my purple high tops shown at the lower left].

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