A wedding present from the bees

I see the last time I posted was April 21st. Since then I have become a married lady named Emily Scott and met the wildlife of Borneo. And in Beeland… the bees have been equally busy.

The day of my wedding, May 10th, had sunny spots but was often overcast and drizzly. I said to Emma, who was one of my bridesmaids, “Well, at least we haven’t missed a good day’s beekeeping.” Little did we know what our bees were plotting! You can read what their plans were in Emma’s post ‘Bees or honey?‘. Long story short, Jonesy and Thomas found queen cells in Chili and Chamomile’s hives and did splits to stop them swarming, turning three colonies into five. A wedding present from the bees!

Me and Drew running inside from the rain

Me and Drew running inside from the rain

Our photographer did attempt to take some photos of us outside at one point, but rain sent us hurrying back in! Doesn’t Drew look good in his kilt?

Hurrying in from the rain

Hurrying in from the rain

But you don’t read this blog for wedding photos, you want to read about bees. Well, I did see some bees on honeymoon in Borneo.

A mengaris tree, home to Apis dorsata bees

A mengaris tree, home to Apis dorsata bees

Please excuse the bad photo, which was taken from a canopy walkway with an iPhone. See the curve hanging from under the lowest branch on the right? It’s an Apis dorsata honeybee comb. I could just about make out the bees by their movements – they were covering the whole comb and their wings seemed to shimmer in waves.

Mengaris tree info

Information on the bees: “This tree in front of you is a 40m tall mengaris (Koompassia excelsa). For a mengaris, it is quite short. Some individuals have been measured at 86m tall, making it one of the tallest tropical tree species! Perhaps mengaris trees are best known as the home of the world’s largest honey bee, the Asian rock bee (Apis dorsata). Their hives are up to 6 feet across and may contain as many as 30,000 bees. One mengaris tree may contain more than 100 nests!”

Mengaris tree footholds

Mengaris tree footholds

Can you see the bumps up the side of the tree? Our guide Mike said these were caused by people hammering in bamboo footholds to climb up and steal the honey. They must have been brave as that tall smooth trunk is not made for climbing – it’s a long way down. Indeed, I read online that the bees choose the tree as their home because its smooth bark is tough for predators like the sun bear to climb.

During our travels we did see another of these trees which was covered with combs. It was far away, but Drew got a good photo of it:

Apis dorsata combs

Apis dorsata combs

Although the combs are easy to spot, individual bees proved hard to come across. The rainforest in Danum Valley had few flowers near the forest floor – I suspect most of the flowers must be higher up near the canopy. We saw plenty of butterflies floating around, but no bees.

So I was very happy to come across this bee whilst staying at Myne Resort, which is located along the Kinabatangan River by the village of Bilit. We went for river cruises to spot the monkeys, birds, orang-utans and monitor lizards that live along the river bank, but one of my favourite creatures spotted was this carpenter bee. Its wings shimmered with blue and green colours. I suspect this piece of wood was its territory, as every so often it would take off and do a short circuit of the surrounding flowers before returning to rest on the wood.

Carpenter bee

Carpenter bee

If anyone can identify the bee beyond it being a carpenter bee that would be much appreciated! Drew got some fantastic photos of the Bornean wildlife so a separate post showing off his animal photos may follow.

I feel like including a couple more wedding photos, as I can say they’re bee themed. Our wedding cake! Gorgeously decorated by Michelle at Maya Cakes – http://mayacakes.co.uk. I asked her if she could include little bees somehow and she made it so with marzipan and almonds for the wings. Everyone commented on how tasty it was too.

Our sponge, jam and cream wedding cake, decorated with fruit, flowers and marzipan bees. Made by Michelle at Maya Cakes - http://mayacakes.co.uk

Our sponge, jam and cream wedding cake, decorated with fruit, flowers and marzipan bees. Made by Michelle at Maya Cakes – http://mayacakes.co.uk

Close up of marzipan bees.

Close up of marzipan bees.

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper living in Ealing, west London. I have been keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary since 2008 and created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully - future successes. Busy taking the British Beekeeping Association module exams too!
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42 Responses to A wedding present from the bees

  1. Beautiful bee photos Emily 😉 I’m jealous you got to see a jewelled exotic bee. Wish we could keep those here – imagine what the other beekeepers would make of them.

    Like

    • Emily Heath says:

      The other beekeepers would be jealous I’m sure!

      Went to check our colony at Northfields today. Plenty of bees and food but they are low on stores – perplexing. Blackberry brambles are out now so I hope they can build up more stores, otherwise we’ll have to feed them too!

      Like

  2. Grower says:

    Congratulations on your wedding! You’re a lovely couple and I wish you many, many years of happiness together. Bees in Borneo! I’m envious. Borneo is in my top three destinations I would like to visit and now knowing there are enormous bees there makes it all the more appealing.

    Like

    • Emily Heath says:

      Thanks very much. As Borneo is one of the top places you’d like to visit I shall have to do a post featuring some of the animal photos Drew took, if you can stand the heat the wildlife is spectacular.

      Like

  3. Nikki Vane says:

    Congratulations Emily, you looked beautiful despite the rain, and Drew looked good in his kilt too. Borneo bees look fascinating……..and your wedding cake is an exquisite edible ‘garden’!
    Nikki

    Like

  4. Congrats!!!! Beautiful bride, handsome groom, lovely day despite the rain (they say rain on your wedding day gives you luck!), and the cake is gorgeous.

    Like

  5. beenurse says:

    Congratulations!!! I love the original cake. And how fantastic to go to Borneo and see the wild bees there.

    Like

  6. llyr says:

    Well done! Sounds like you had an amazing day, and honeymoon. Hope your bees have settled down now!

    Like

  7. Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
    Lovely post and thank you for sharing have a blessed week

    Like

  8. Emily, you looked absolutely beautiful, and Andrew looks very fine in the kilt. Congratulations! And thanks for such a newsy, juicy and interesting blog post. Love, love, love the cake and pinterested it!

    Like

  9. You were such a beautiful bride Emily, and Drew a handsome groom. i agree, we don’t see kilts here and he looks wonderful in his. My congrats to the both of you. Love your bee cake too.

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  10. You make a lovely couple and you were a stunning bride, I like a kilt for the groom but then I am somewhat biased. The bees are so interesting, I wonder if they could be kept in hives? I loved the carpenter to, it might be Xylocopa aestuans. Amelia

    Like

  11. daveloveless says:

    Congratulations! Drew looked great in his skirt! 🙂

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  12. Lovely pictures! Congratulations, and best wishes for happy lives together.

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  13. whitt98 says:

    Congratulations! Love your post with wedding photos. I included my bees in my wedding too: I put a small jar of their honey at each place setting as the wedding favor. They were a huge hit!

    Like

  14. thebigbuzz says:

    Huge congratulations on your wedding, Emily! I wish you both every happiness for your future life together.

    Like

  15. Henry says:

    Congratulations on your wedding Emily. Am wishing a happy life together with your hubby. Your posts have been educative to me especially as a biginner in beekeeping here in Kenya. Please keep up the good work. Hope we could see you here sometimes. Happy beekeeping

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  16. Congratulations! And thank you for sharing wedding photos as well as bees-in-Borneo photos. I laughed out loud when I saw you had posted a picture of that wonderful wedding cake — what would an Adventures in Beeland post be without cake? Best wishes to you and your handsome kilted groom!

    Like

  17. Many congratulations! Fabulous cake! RH

    Like

  18. He is the half part of a blessed man,
    Left to be finished by such as she;
    And she a fair divided excellence,
    Whose fullness of perfection lies in him

    Shakespeare, King John

    Congratulations! Wishing you much happiness and many bees!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. karcuri13 says:

    Congrats!!! The cake looks great.

    Like

  20. Congratulations – you look a beautiful couple! And a lovely cake! Hope your married life is (mostly) a bed of heather (better for the bees than roses, and a bit Scottish)…
    All the best 🙂

    Like

  21. P&B says:

    Congratulations! You look fabulous.

    Like

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