Borneo Bees!

The forests and mountains of Borneo are also home to some incredible bees…

The first day in the forests of the Danum Valley I spotted this amazing nest in the arms of a magnificent Koompassia tree (which is over 80 m tall!). These are Giant Asian Honeybees. They construct their combs in the open draped under the branches of these tall trees where they are out of reach of predators (like the Sun Bear, who has trouble climbing up the smooth bark)…

The aptly-named Koompassia excelsa tree - can you spot the Giant Honeybee Nest?
The aptly-named Koompassia excelsa tree - can you spot the Giant Honeybee Nest?
A closer view of the Giant Asian Honeybee nest - on the left side of the Koompassia trunk - the dark shape - it is over 2 metres long!
A closer view of the Giant Asian Honeybee nest - on the left side of the Koompassia trunk - the dark shape - it is over 2 metres long!

There were a lot stingless bees about too. They landed on us whenever we were sweaty (which was most of the time). Here they are peering out of the nest entrance…

Stingless bees peering out of their nest entrance...
Stingless bees peering out of their nest entrance...
Stingless bee about to leave the nest.
Stingless bee about to leave the nest.

There were many other bee species around. On a flowering liana in the shady understorey of the forest I saw this gorgeous Carpenter Bee visiting the flowers. The velvety blue sheen on its back almost glowed in the shadows! The Carpenter bees were slow and deliberate visitors to the flowers. Zipping around them much more madly were some Leaf-cutter bees, with luck I managed to snap a photo of one of them too…

Carpenter Bee feeding from flowering liana
Carpenter Bee feeding from flowering liana
The fast-flying Leaf-cutter bee sipping nectar
The fast-flying Leaf-cutter bee sipping nectar

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