(Sorry I just have a low-class, ancient camera) I took this shot while squatting on the ground. It actually isn't that high. I'm about 5'2 and the swarm is about level with my head. If I walked under the tree I'd get bees (and stings!) on my head.
Here's a closer look :
|Nature's Cottage Apis Dorsata|
While the swarm looks relatively small, it's actually quite a nice sized swarm. It's about 2.5 feet wide and about 2 feet long.
I've been watching them every chance I get. They're beautiful insects. I grew up with bees (melliferas) and through the years of caring for them and watching them, I have so much more to learn and am constantly amazed by the bees. I've noticed that most of these bees have just been clinging onto each other and clinging onto the branch. Almost unmoving except for the lower portion of the swarm, where a bunch of the worker bees fly in, do their bee dance, bring in pollen and nectar (there's a lot now), then fly off again. I've been watching and hoping to get a glimpse of a drone of theirs- or, even better, their elusive queen. They allow me to stand about a foot away from them and don't get irritated by my presence.
All the Dorsatas I've seen here are black and white, unlike the ones in other Asian countries. As far as know, as of year 2005 or so - no one has ever seen the queen bee of the Apis Dorsata because they're quite hard to study.
Here's a photo of my apis mellifera's:
I took this photo at noon time. They were feeling rather hot and decided to move out of the house for a while. It's a first time for me to be taking care of bees in the heat. I'm used to caring for them in much cooler weather. There's a few things to get used to but generally it's not all that different after all.
On a side note, it's raining right now, and this is just what I've been praying for. We haven't had rain for about two weeks now and everything's gotten so dry. I just helped my friend prep her garden this afternoon for planting tomorrow- so here's to hoping that it will rain again soon! Nice to "smell rain" again.