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Honey Hunters of Nepal
April 3, 2012 12:51 PM   Subscribe

High in the Himalayan foothills, fearless Gurung men risk their lives to harvest the massive nests of the world's largest honeybee.

They were photographed by Eric Valli, photojournalist and documentarian. (YT)

For hundreds of years,the skills required to perform this treacherous task have been passed down through the generations

The rich, unctuous honey is only harvested twice a year to ensure the bees' welfare and is highly sought-after in Kathmandu, making the hunt a dangerous yet rewarding exercise.

Honey hunting (YT) in Nepal, from the BBC
posted by the man of twists and turns (38 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Red honey has an intoxicating effect and various relaxing qualities

OMG red drug honey?! Where can I guy some?
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:56 PM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh man, I remember seeing this in National Geographic years ago. With my fear of heights and my fear of stinging insects, this was memorable.
posted by MtDewd at 12:57 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


er, "guy some" = buy/get some
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:57 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The rich flavours explode in a potent floral blend – mango, lychee blossom – and it has a tangy, rather than sugary, sweetness. As I tuck in eagerly, the grinning hunters point out that the bees feed on marijuana shrubs… Not that this appears to be of concern as they wolf down vast chunks.

Oh my. TO NEPAL.
posted by jquinby at 12:59 PM on April 3, 2012 [17 favorites]


Excellent site, thanks.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:59 PM on April 3, 2012


So who else was now going "High in the Himalayan foothills goes a lonely beeherd Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo"?
posted by MartinWisse at 1:00 PM on April 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Some of those fotos look so timeless. Good stuff.
posted by Jehan at 1:04 PM on April 3, 2012


Bees are neat!

Bees 'self-medicate' when infected with some pathogens
Physorg.com, 30 March 2012
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:05 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Red honey doesn't sound that fun, actually.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:07 PM on April 3, 2012


> Some of those fotos look so timeless.

My thoughts as well. I suppose it helps that the subjects themselves are somewhat timeless.

Also, these guys are the anti-Nic Cage.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:09 PM on April 3, 2012


the bees feed on marijuana shrubs

How the honey bees got their buzz
posted by gnomes at 1:10 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, gawds, not giant bees!!!!
posted by _paegan_ at 1:14 PM on April 3, 2012


Uh uh, that's stoned giant bees... from outer space
posted by infini at 1:15 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, MartinWisse, that's just you.... wait, nope, crap, now it's me too. Asshole.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:23 PM on April 3, 2012


Reminds me of The Borrowers.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:29 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uh, has the 'intoxicating effect' been measured scientifically? Do they know what causes it? Actually THC?
posted by delmoi at 1:32 PM on April 3, 2012


Are you fucking what is this i dont even
posted by odinsdream at 1:33 PM on April 3, 2012


Are you fucking what is this i dont even

Yeah, I thought I was having a rough day. But it turns out I don't need to climb thousand foot cliffs to fight giant bees. So, that's some perspective on that.
posted by mhoye at 1:36 PM on April 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


My new favorite Snapple flavor: mango/lychee blossom/marijuana
posted by Ron Thanagar at 2:00 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Collecting honey... ordinary honey."
posted by Greg Nog at 2:12 PM on April 3, 2012


If those guys with the muskets sold them to the Pawn Stars, they could probably retire.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:24 PM on April 3, 2012


I saw a documentary about this more than a decade ago.

Those guys killed a lot of bees, and it upset me.
posted by jamjam at 2:30 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fearless my ass. Those dudes have got to be shitting their pants. More like brave as fuck.
posted by Phreesh at 2:32 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love honey, but I looked at a site where they export this honey and it is $50.00 for kg.
posted by grannynurse at 2:41 PM on April 3, 2012


Giant bees.

Next thing you're going to be telling me there's giant stupid, stupid rat creatures and dragons.
posted by weston at 3:12 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


If these guys were a metal song, they'd be this one.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:41 PM on April 3, 2012


Just came in to say, nope nope nope no way. That goes for you too, guy climbing alongside and taking pictures.
posted by oneironaut at 3:52 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow! These guys are the real deal. Look at those rifles! They are still using flintlock or percussion cap...I can't tell which.

I took a look at this photographers other work and found this. Does anyone have any information about the group of folks toward the bottom in that photospread? They look like they are living a totally stone-age existence...in the US? I would love to read more about who they are and how they came to be...
posted by jnnla at 4:08 PM on April 3, 2012


...just a heads up...some googling found me this
posted by jnnla at 4:15 PM on April 3, 2012


They look like they are living a totally stone-age existence...in the US?

I wonder how long till one of them invents the wheel.
posted by scalefree at 4:26 PM on April 3, 2012


So, the picture fifth from the bottom, two bloody toe crotches and a rifle stock. There's what appears to be a red bone between a foot and the stock? But no one is missing a toe, they both still have ten. Just what is that?
posted by Toekneesan at 6:01 PM on April 3, 2012


Flower, maybe?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:43 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


WRT to the intoxicating effects of the red honey, this was in the Wikipedia article on the bees:

The red honey is prized for its purported medicinal value and intoxicating qualities which are attributed to the grayanotoxin present in the nectar collected from white rhododendrons.
posted by gimli at 6:55 PM on April 3, 2012


Grayanotoxin sounds like a horrible time. It's like a cranky ketamine or something.
posted by basicchannel at 7:42 PM on April 3, 2012


Something something k-hive.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:12 PM on April 3, 2012


They work hard for the honey.
So hard for that honey.
They work hard for that honey so you better eat it right.

So I was gonna look up the full lyrics for that song and riff it up, but the first site I hit was of course a LOLlyricsADTRAPattackDEATHpage that assaulted my senses mercilessly with multiple video ads playing simultaneously, including two identical Lysol commercials playing roughly 1 second apart from each other.

If a fancy restaurant used this honey they could really milk the whole back story, with the server breathlessly explaining its elaborate origin while describing their wonderfully simple Baklava with really !amazing! basic, down-to-Earth ingredients with stories that take a long time to explain and are pretty cool especially when they are true but come on, just give me a brochure or some shit because I just want to get to eating that...mgormfrgf.

I'd make a joke to further express what I'm getting at, but jonmc is the reigning champ and I won't attempt it at this time.
posted by aydeejones at 11:35 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


So who else was now going "High in the Himalayan foothills goes a lonely beeherd Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo"?

Well, I wasn't but now I am. And it's bloody STUCK in my head, you BASTARD!
posted by ninazer0 at 12:00 AM on April 4, 2012


Earworm antidote
posted by flabdablet at 5:09 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


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