posted in: Bees and wasps, Fauna, Videography | 6

“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.

6 Responses

  1. Am

    Interesting post. I’m glad that we regularly get articles on insects and flora these days.

    • YC

      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…

  2. hamesha

    I got my answer to a Q i posed below another post. ‘evaporative cooling’ of the beehives via droplets of water..

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