Pollinators From Around the World: The Himalayan Cliff Honey Bee

[Article written by Manish Koirala]

The act of pollination facilitates the continuation and growth of infinite plant species, both in the natural environment and in agricultural settings, thereby sustaining numerous ecosystems. Research shows that plant species and their respective pollinators have evolved in coexistence over time. Currently, bees are the prime global pollinator species followed by butterflies, moths, birds, bats, etc.

The Himalayas, with the largest mountains, also have the largest bee species pollinating its plants. Apis laboriosa a.k.a The Himalayan Cliff Honey Bee is the only non-tropical bee species of the region with unique nesting habits. Measuring up to 3.0 cm in length, Apis laboriosa nests at altitudes of 2,500 to 3,000 metres, building massive nests that hang on vertical cliff faces facing southwest. They also forage at altitudes of up to 4,000 m. The largest of the Apis Genus, these bees have dark abdomens and long thoracic hairs. Although similar morphologically to their relative, Apis dorsata, the swarming and housekeeping behavior of the Apis laboriosa allows for differentiation between the two species.