Please help me identify this...

Discussion in 'Mason & other alternative bees' started by efmesch, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I recently took a two week tour of China. There, on two occasions in farmers' markets, I saw a flattened basket ball shaped and sized collection of honey with larger than normal sized combs built along its upper surface. The cells seemed to be made of "paper-like" wasp nest cells. The honey in the "ball" was crystalized and had been deposited around several branches of a shrub. The crystalized honey was offered for sale in local farmer's markets and was cut off of the "ball" and weighed. I saw several regular (robber) honey bees around this unusual honey but none of the bees that might have emerged from the larger than usual cells on top. I trired to get some information from the sellers about this totally unfamiliar honey bee's nest but, unfortunately, the language barrier was too great.
    If anyone on the forum knows anything about this unusual bee/nest/honey, I'd appreciate hearing about it.
     

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  2. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    No problem efmesch It is all written out for you on the card on picture 5.

    Did you have a good trip? This explains your absence from the forum.
    Haven't seen anything like that before, Interested to find out too.
    When I first started out keeping bees every one to that point in my life and what iI read told me that the honey bee was the only bee\ insect that gathered honey in excess that could be harvested and consumed by humans. How misinformed we all were.
    Thanks for posting and interesting photos.
     

  3. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    With all the Chinese "Guest" viewers on the forum I was hoping that someone might expose him/her self and give an explanation. For the present, I pay the price of being illiterate in Chinese.
    The trip was absolutely AMAZING! Opened our eyes to an "unknown" and totally unfamiliar civilization. Much of the modernity there left us breathless in surprise.
    ​The "normal" bee hives I occcasionally spotted from the window of our tour bus were definitely not standard Langstroth hives.
    From time to time I was able to make a Wi-Fi connection and check in, but posting from a "smart-phone" wasn't so easy.
     
  4. Apo Mariano

    Apo Mariano New Member

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    Hi efmesch,

    I haven't seen anything like it here in the Philippines. To me, it doesn't look like a natural honey taken from a hive. It looks like the honeycomb was just placed on top of the crystallized honey for decoration but I may be wrong. It may also be from wasps/hornets which I know nothing about.

    BTW, I can't read chinese too so I won't be much help.:sad:
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    It could be that the picture doesn't show it clearly enough,but it definitely was one unit, with the honey stored below. Both places where I saw the cut chunks for sale, the entire "hive" looked the same: a flattened ball of crystallized honey stored below a paper-like honeycomb of larger than usual cells, lying flat and firmly attached to each other. My non-existent command the Chinese language prevented me from finding out anything about this unusual specimen.
     
  6. jltluther15

    jltluther15 New Member

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    Hi, I'm a bit late to respond to this, but I'm an American and I do honey bee research and pollination consulting in Asia. I've not seen this specific type of honey/hive, but the sign says "Wild Honey" (野蜂蜜 - Yemifeng), and lists a bunch of ailments that it cures (sore throat, cough, etc.). I have asked a couple of my colleagues if they have seen it, and they said they have down near Vietnam boarder, and they believe it's some kind of wild ground bee, which produces a honey that is very high in moisture content (which explains the crystallizing), and that it must be dug up to get the honey and hive out. I hope this helps.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    "Better late than never". Thanks very much JLT for your information and for your translation of the Chinese.
    I think you're close, but question the idea that it was dug up from the ground. Although it might be possible, it makes it hard to understand the branches around which the whole "hive" seems to have been built. Do you have any biological information about the traits of the bees themselves. I ask this because of the larger than standard sized cells and their seeming to be built like wasp "paper" combs and not made out of wax.