Tuesday, January 24, 2012

World's Largest Colony Of Bee Hives

The photo on my blog banner above was taken over a year back. It shows over one hundred abandoned honey combs on an imposing cliff face rising about three hundred meters above the motor road that runs beneath it. The site of this most amazing natural phenomenon is located in the most deprived Dzongkhag of Bhutan - Zhemgang.

I have not heard of such colonization on such a massive scale, anywhere else in the world. Therefore, I am encouraged to believe that this is a unique and one-of-a-kind occurrence. In the next few days, I am going to submit an entry to the Guinness Book of World Records to declare this site as the “Largest Colony of Bee Hives in the World”. I am not sure that it will qualify or even that such an entry will be accepted by the Guinness Book of Records – but I am going to try any way. And, if it does not qualify at this time, I am going to work at making it qualify in the next few years.

It is my hope that one day this extremely rare occurrence will qualify to be designated as one of Bhutan's Natural Heritage sites. For the moment, we need to work at minimizing destructive human intrusions in the vicinity of this natural wonder. If we can do that, I am sure that the colony of bee hives will grow to number even more!

In addition to being a natural wonder, these abandoned honey combs attract one of Bhutan’s rarest birds and one of the world’s near endangered bird species – the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (Indicator xanthonotus).  Thus, although until recently the area was out of bounds for tourists, the governemnt has recently lifted the ban thereby opening up the area for bird watchers. For the thousands of bird watchers who visit Bhutan every year, this site can become one of the most dependable birding destinations - to sight their life bird (for a large number of birders around the world, the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide remains a life bird).

By the way, although the photo shows that the bee hives have been abandoned, I am happy to say that duirng my visit to the area about a month back, I noticed that they have been re-colonized and the number of hives have increased even more.


  1. It's amazing. They look like some kind of nutshells strewn around. Wouldn't the intrusion of visitors affect further colonization? and if it does, then would these rare birds disappear? In any case, all the best for your efforts. Anon.

  2. Hmm...Interesting....Very interesting..(^_^)

  3. aue, as an ardent fan of your work all i can say is this is phenomenal .. this picture will now always be on the back of my mind whenever i devour the honey on my toast :-(
    I have known more about my country's flora , avifauna and landscape through your blog than from anywhere else .. it will be superb to have this on the GBOWR as it will mean that there will be more protection offered by the concerned authorities and communities .. i am sure there nothing to protect that cliff from intrusion from the most destructive species aka Man . The stingers on the bees behind will not alone offer all the protection ... Aue , keep the good work going ... TD

  4. Hi TD,

    Thanks for the comment.

    The existence of such a huge number of bee hives at one location tell us something - the quality of our natural environment. Unfortunately, every once in a while, the bees are driven away by humans. However, plans are afoot to change that. I am hopeful that the DPT government will support the preservation of such a rare and wonderful natural occurrence.

    I will keep you updated.

  5. Wishing you a good luck in making the beehives enter to the Guinness World record. I think it is really a big deal. Once again, Wishing ou uck Sir.

  6. Hi Anon,

    Thanks ... I am waiting for a verdict from the team at Guinness World Records team in the UK to confirm whether or not they wil consider the entry ... I will post updates as I get confirmation from them.