The Ancient Art of Honey Hunting

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Long before the first man-made bee hives, people hunted honey in the wild. Following eight months of field research, Eric Valli and Diane Summer documented this ancient tradition in their beautifully photographed book, Honey Hunters of Nepal.

The sheer cliffs of Nepal is home to the world’s largest honey bee, Apis laboriosa. The Gurung tribesmen ascend rickety bamboo ladders, hundreds of feet high. When they find the wild hives nestled in the cliff walls, they subdue the colonies with smoke, and then, ever so carefully, maneuver the honey-laden combs to the ground.

This surely is an ancient tradition. Some of the earliest evidence of man’s taste for honey comes from rock art dating to around 13,000 year ago — as captured in Eva Crane’s classic book:

rx art eva cranevalli photo
The Rock Art of Honey Hunters. Also above: a photo from The Honey Hunters of Nepal, showing the delicate balancing act the Gurung are so accustom to.

In addition to the Land Library’s more than 100 adult books on bees & beekeeping, our Waterton Canyon Kids Nature Library has many, many volumes on bees, among them are these two wonderfully illustrated books on the ancient art of honey hunting!

honey guidefrancesca martin
If You Should Hear a Honey Guide by April Pulley Sayre, and The Honey Hunters by Francesca Martin

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