Hindukush Beekeeping – Honey Hunters

Hindukush Beekeeping – Honey Hunters

Music; Ambience: Bee hive sounds

JM: There is a special type of bee that nests in the cliffs of the high country of Hindukush in the Himalayas. And there are hunters willing to climb these steep cliffs to harvest the rare honey the bees produce. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We’re listening to the sounds of the Apis laboriosa bee. The beekeepers are local men who practice the dangerous art of harvesting “high altitude” honey.

FA: “These people are honey hunters, and honey hunting is their livelihood. The honey from Apis laboriosa is very, very expensive – and it is being used in Japanese medicine, Korean medicine, and Chinese medicine – and there is great demand for this high altitude honey.”

JM: Farooq Ahmad directs an international Beekeeping Project working with honey hunters. He says the lure of this valuable honey is threatening to destroy the cliff bees.

FA: “Bees are not for honey only. The major task of bees is pollination.”

JM: The Beekeeping Project has been teaching honey hunters about the important role bees play in sustaining the local ecosystem. If these bees are over-harvested, local crops may fail, and the valuable honey will disappear.

FA: “Now honey hunters believe if their bees go, if they’re totally destroyed then their livelihood will go, so we are working with them while harvesting honey from different cliffs. We’re trying to make people understand that all the bee combs should not be harvested — at least 20 to 50 percent bee colonies should stay there on different cliffs.”

JM: Farooq says in recent years cliff bee colonies have also been threatened by recreational climbers who remove the honey combs, never knowing the damage they cause.

FA: Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Hindukush Beekeeping - Honey Hunters

In the high cliffs of the Himalayas, colonies of bees produce prized honey - helping to sustain local ecosystems.
Air Date:10/18/2021
Scientist:
Transcript:

Hindukush Beekeeping - Honey Hunters Music; Ambience: Bee hive sounds JM: There is a special type of bee that nests in the cliffs of the high country of Hindukush in the Himalayas. And there are hunters willing to climb these steep cliffs to harvest the rare honey the bees produce. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We're listening to the sounds of the Apis laboriosa bee. The beekeepers are local men who practice the dangerous art of harvesting "high altitude" honey. FA: "These people are honey hunters, and honey hunting is their livelihood. The honey from Apis laboriosa is very, very expensive - and it is being used in Japanese medicine, Korean medicine, and Chinese medicine - and there is great demand for this high altitude honey." JM: Farooq Ahmad directs an international Beekeeping Project working with honey hunters. He says the lure of this valuable honey is threatening to destroy the cliff bees. FA: "Bees are not for honey only. The major task of bees is pollination." JM: The Beekeeping Project has been teaching honey hunters about the important role bees play in sustaining the local ecosystem. If these bees are over-harvested, local crops may fail, and the valuable honey will disappear. FA: "Now honey hunters believe if their bees go, if they're totally destroyed then their livelihood will go, so we are working with them while harvesting honey from different cliffs. We're trying to make people understand that all the bee combs should not be harvested -- at least 20 to 50 percent bee colonies should stay there on different cliffs." JM: Farooq says in recent years cliff bee colonies have also been threatened by recreational climbers who remove the honey combs, never knowing the damage they cause. FA: Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.