on 7th March 2014

“At around midday on 22nd February 2014, we had arrived at a stream in the Ulu Langat forest (Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia). Despite a severe lack of rain over the preceding weeks, a steady flow of freshwater was indeed a welcome sight (above).

“Our attentions were drawn towards a small swarm of Giant Honey Bees (Apis dorsata) which was descending upon a particular spot along the stream where a thin film of water was washing over a smooth, rounded boulder (above).

“With proboscis extended, the thirsty bees eagerly lapped up this clean water (above). A video clip of their drinking activity may be previewed below:

“As you enjoy listening to the gurgling of the crystal clear stream, you may also be amused by the regular pulsations of the bees’ abdomens as they gulp up the sweet fresh water.

“Imbibing this water may mean more than just quenching their thirst. Collectively, much of this water may be brought back to the beehive and distributed as tiny droplets over the combs to aid in evaporative cooling, especially when mid-day temperatures soar and threaten to melt the beeswax (Koeniger et al., 2010). Indeed, an excellent example of fine-tuned, cooperative thermoregulation for these social insects.”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming & Gary Lim
5th March 2014

Koeniger, N., G. Koeniger & S. Tingek, 2010. Honey Bees of Borneo – Exploring the Centre of Apis Diversity. Natural History Publications (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu. xix + 262 pp.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

6 Responses

    1. We widen our coverage because of the urgent need to highlight various aspects of nature and not be too focused on birds. This is for the benefit of our birdwatchers as recent public statements by their leaders show their ignorance of things other than bird identification. Examples include statements that ants rain down on people standing under a Common Mahang or Macaranga bancana tree; not knowing that most of our urban trees came from the forest; a clump of trees with plentiful birds make up a forest…

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