I have just returned from a family trip to Borneo - among the many fascinating things we saw there were some native stingless bees.
We first noticed them on entering the village - these little insects (less than 8mm long) were entering and exiting a trumpet like opening near the entrance to the village.
Then, whilst walking around the village, we were shown some working hives - they were so quiet - none of the usual hum we hear when near our hives. The first image shows a hive made out of six pieces of timber and held together with wire and propolis.
This next image shows the entrance to a hive in a large piece of bamboo - the hive itself was had a diameter of about 15 cm and was about 2 foot long.
Interestingly, these lovely little native bees don't seem to have the beautiful geometric honey comb that our bees have - theirs was more like the inside of an ant's nest - it looked a bit haphazard. The inside of an old hive is shown below.
And because of the relatively small amount of honey that is obtained from these bees - the villagers also use honey bees like ours. And as you would expect, the honey tasted different due to the different pollens and nectars. It also had a much thinner consistency - we didn't think it was as good as our honey! The bees in the picture below were drinking up the honey that was out for us to taste.
The lady serving us the honey had honey bees all over hands.
Unfortunately, we did not get a photo of all of the street vendors in the hills of Sabah selling their Honey. It was a wonderful sight - seeing all of the bottles lined up with honey varying in shades from very pale yellow, all the way up to near black honey.