Beekeeping has been carried out throughout the world for generations. Introduction of non-native species is putting native bee species at risk.Beekeeping in Nepal
Beekeeping in Nepal, as with many places in the world, has been carried out for centuries. Traditionally, bees were kept in log hives, made with hollowed (naturally hollow or hollowed using tools), or harvested from wild bees.
In more recent years, beekeeping has grown in Nepal, driven in part by the prospects of an income from the sale of honey. Many NGOs and other groups help promote beekeeping for income generation which unfortunately often includes working with imported European honey bees Apis melifera.
Apis Mellifera has been introduced in many parts of Nepal as they are believed to be more productive in terms of honey as well as “friendlier” (i.e. Sting less). Lots of farmers are now promoting the European bee in Nepal which is putting the population of native bee species at risk. This is due to A. melifera being slightly larger than the native A. cerana, therefore outcompeting it for natural hive sites (e.g. hollow trees) and because of diseases and parasites that they have brought with them.*
The Last Honey Hunter
Our Last Honey Hunter Lip Balm uses beeswax from another of Nepal’s native honeybee species – Apis laboriosa or the Himalayan Cliff Bee. This bee species is quite famous for its incredible nesting sites, high up on rock faces in the Himalayan jungles.
There have been a small number or documentaries looking into these bees and the tradition of “Honey Hunting” (climbing the huge cliffs on woven bamboo ropes to take honey and wax from the bees) but none more personal, informative or breath-taking than a recent National Geographic film called The Last Honey Hunter.
We worked with the team from the documentary to acquire this rare and incredible beeswax that is naturally the deepest golden yellow, for a limited edition balm.
Take a look at #thelasthoneyhunter for more on this story.
* You can read more about native bees in Nepal in research carried out by ICIMOD, here.