Apis dorsata laboriosa, the Himalayan giant honey bee, is the world’s largest honey bee; single adults can measure up to 3.0 cm (1.2 in) in length.

Limited to the Himalayas, it is the largest of the Apis species. So far it has only been identified in the mountainous regions of Bhutan, the Chinese province of Yunnan, India, and Nepal. It mostly nests at altitudes between 2,500 and 3,000 m (8,200 and 9,800 ft), building very large nests under overhangs on the southwestern faces of vertical cliffs. One nest can contain as much as 60 kg (130 lb) of honey. The bees forage at altitudes of up to 4,100 m (13,500 ft). Due to its peculiar nesting behavior, the Himalayan giant honey bee is also referred to as the Himalayan cliff honey bee.


There are three different types of Apis dorsata laboriosa honey: spring or red honey that is created from flowers at higher altitudes, spring honey created from flowers at mid and lower altitudes, and autumn honey is created from any site. Red honey has an intoxicating effect and various relaxing qualities that decrease over storage.


Apis dorsata is found from the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia. The greatest populations of Apis dorsata are found in China, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.


They mostly reside in tall trees in dense forests but also build nests on urban buildings. These bees are tropical and in most places, they migrate seasonally.


Apis dorsata differs from the other bees in its genus in terms of nest design. Each colony consists of a single vertical comb made of workers’ wax suspended from above, and the comb is typically covered by a dense mass of bees in several layers.


Apis dorsata differs from the other bees in its genus in terms of nest design. Each colony consists of a single vertical comb made of workers’ wax suspended from above, and the comb is typically covered by a dense mass of bees in several layers.


These bees cant be domesticated and in most parts of the countries, certain tribes specialize in extracting honey from these beehives. In fact, they also are known as honey hunters as they will be gone for days into the jungle to identify these beehives and extract honey from them.


DYU is India's 1st native honey bee - Apis cerana indica, honey brand.


Apis cerana indica, the Indian honey bee, is a subspecies of the Asiatic honey bee. It is one of the predominant bees found in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and mainland Asia. Relatively non-aggressive and rarely exhibiting swarming behavior, it is ideal for beekeeping.


They usually build multiple combed nests in tree hollows and man-made structures. These bees can adapt to living in purpose-made hives and cavities. Their nesting habit means that they can potentially colonize temperate or mountain areas with prolonged winters or cold temperatures. Colonies contain only a few thousand workers, compared to the 50,000 typical of European honey bees.


Considering the smaller colony sizes most of the Indian beekeepers in geographies where the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) can survive have stopped using Indian native honey bee. the art of beekeeping using Apis cerana indica is confined to high tropical regions of India. Western ghats region in South Karnataka, Parts of Kerala, and northeastern states is where this is still being practiced. Once what was the norm, it is now an art!!

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