Himalayan Honey Bee Facts
- The comparatively enormous, and thankfully primarily docile, Himalayan Honey Bee easily ranks as the largest known type of honey bee. Furthermore, this highly remarkable invertebrate also produces a most unusual variety of honey, with unique properties. This uniqueness occurs partly due to various factors of its most unusual habitat range.
- In addition, the fascinating insect actually makes three different types of honey. Each derives from different plants visited during different periods of the year. In the Autumn, the honey comes from various locations. During the Summer, it originates from lower and mid-range altitudes. In the Spring, the bee also produces it from plants found at extreme altitudes.
- The honey from high altitudes remains quite unique, and often appears sharply red in color. Due to certain factors, it also possesses relaxing qualities and actually has intoxicating effects. Fortunately, for the moment, it does not appear on the IUCN Red List. Nevertheless, it must be considered to be facing severe danger, due to both habitat loss and climate change.
Himalayan Honey Bee Physical Description
As the largest known variety of honey bee, one particular characteristic of the rather remarkable Himalayan Honey Bee stands out. That, of course, is the sheer physical size of this fabulous arthropod. This holds true due to the fact that individuals attain an astonishing average length measuring roughly 1.2 in (3 cm).
However, in other respects, its physical appearance remains very much like that of other types of honey bee. In point of fact, only the significant disparity in size distinguishes it from others, in terms of appearance. Further, the precise evolutionary reason for its enormous size remains a mystery to researchers.
The males, or drones, of the fascinating Himalayan Honey Bee possess large eyes, and comparatively short abdomens. Not only that, but it also possesses no stinger. In addition, the coloring often varies slightly between individuals. Nonetheless, this mainly includes combinations of brown, black, and dark yellow.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Euarthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Hymenoptera
- Family: Apidae
- Genus: Apis
- Species: A. dorsata
Himalayan Honey Bee Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The very name of the Himalayan Honey Bee provides evidence of its natural habitat range. That’s because this incredible invertebrate appears to have evolved to a specific section of Asia. More specifically, however, this region partly consists of what now constitutes the countries of Nepal and India. In addition, the rest of its range covers parts of Bhutan, and the Yunnan province in China.
Furthermore, even within that range, this amazing insect also appears in only certain very specific areas. That holds true due to the fact that it nests only at extremely high and specific altitudes. Typically, these measure around 9,800 ft (3,000 m). In addition, it also builds its nests as extremely large. Finally, these most commonly appear under overhangs on the southwest sides of vertical cliffs.
The fascinating Himalayan Honey Bee forages at altitudes of as much as 13,500 ft (4,100 m). Also, a single nest sometimes contains as much as 130 lb (60 kg) of honey. That makes a lot of goodness in just one nest. The special quality of its honey has created a local industry. The unique nature of its honey further makes it quite valuable in Asian markets, so it’s not consumed locally, but is exported.