“In late April 2014, I was seeking solace and soaking in the serenity at a water lily pond in Sarawak, Borneo. A number of water lilies (Nymphaea nouchali) were in full bloom, with pretty purplish petals pining for attention (above).
“Soon, I discovered that I was not the only one who was attracted by these flowers. Giant Honey Bees (Apis dorsata) were making a beeline for these water lilies as well (above).
“Upon closer inspection of the bees, I was able to observe their corbiculae (pollen baskets on the outer surface of the hind legs), which carries all the pollen collected from its prior floral visits (above, below).
“A video clip of the giant honey bee foraging at a water lily may be previewed here:
“In Thailand, the water lily (Nymphaea nouchali) has been recorded to receive bee visitors, including Apis cerana and Apis florea (Suwannapong et al., 2011). In Borneo, the understanding of foraging and food sources of honey bees is still inadequate and more studies would help contribute towards this aspect of their biology (Koeniger et al., 2010).
Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
7th May 2014
1. 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.
2. Suwannapong, G., M. E. Benbow & J. C. Nieh, 2011. Chapter 1 – Biology of Thai Honeybees: Natural History and Threats. In: Florio, R. M. (Ed.), Bees: Biology, Threats and Colonies, pp. 1–98.