Honey hunting in Nepal is one of the most adventurous activity. The honey from wild bees are gathered using traditional methods. Since the combs are found clinging in high cliffs , it is impossible to gather honey from the ground. The local people use traditional rope ladder, smokes and knives. This make honey hunting even more thrilling.
Laboriosa, the Himalayan giant honey bee, is the largest honeybee in the world .Specially found in the upper hilly and mountainous region of Nepal , tthis large honey bee is called " Bhir Mauri" in local language which directly translates to cliff bees. These bees got this name according to their habitat. These honey bees are found clinging on to the high cliffs . The hives of these bees are bigger than forest bees or household bees.
The Gurungs across many parts of Nepal, specially the Kaski and Lamjung districts, value the traditions of honey hunting as a part of their lifestyle. The honey is collected twicw a year during autumn and spring season. The honey gathered is expensive sue to its medicinal and psychedelic properties. In Nepal, there are five honey bee species. Among them, wild cliff bees or giant Himalayan bees (Apis Laboriosa ) make their comb in open spaces like mountain cliffs. It is the largest bee species and forms giant combs. Therefore, people get up to 40 kg of honey from a single comb. Besides rock, these bees also make comb in large tree trunks.Honey obtained from Apis Laboriosa bees has psychedelic effects; therefore, it is renowned worldwide as ‘mad honey. It gives you a pleasant effect when consumed in small doses. Therefore, honey hunting in Nepal is considered a treasure by hunters.
Mainly Gurung and Magar communities of a rural community of mountainous regions perform wild honey hunting in Nepal. Before harvesting honey, local people organize a special ceremony to offer God sheep, flowers, and grains. They perform such rituals believing that God will protect them from any attack and mishappening from honeybees.Every year they climb mountain cliffs to harvest wild honey without any modern tool or protective wear. Therefore only fit and who have knowledge and technique to climb cliffs are chosen for honey hunting. They climb stiff rocks and mountains using ropes and ladders made of bamboo.
Normally honey hunting is practiced in some mountainous rural communities. But, Ghalegaun (Lamjung), Myagdi and Ghan Pokhara are some major places. People in these areas are collecting honey and passing their skills to generation after generation. Locals from these areas are making their livelihood by taking hunting as their profession. Honey hunting is indeed a spectacular activity. But, due to difficult hilly topography only performed in specific seasons of the year. The Rainy and winter seasons are the critical periods for bees. Thus, bees consume stored honey for their survival. Also, weather and geography make it difficult to harvest in this season.So, the perfect time for honey hunting in Nepal is during late spring (March-April) and late autumn (September-November). Honey hunting is indeed a spectacular activity. But, due to difficult hilly topography only performed in specific seasons of the year. The Rainy and winter seasons are the critical periods for