Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon by Samuel White Baker




















































 -   This species is entirely
unlike a bee in all its habits.  It is a bright tinsel-green
color, and the - Page 250
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This Species Is Entirely Unlike A Bee In All Its Habits.

It is a bright tinsel-green color, and the size of a large walnut, but shaped like the humble bees of England.

The month is armed with a very powerful pair of mandibles, and the tail with a sting even larger and more venomous than that of the hornet. These carpenter bees are exceedingly destructive, as they bore holes in beams and posts, in which they lay their eggs, the larvae of which when hatched greedily feed upon the timber.

The honey bees are of four very distinct varieties, each of which forms its nest on a different principle. The largest and most extensive honey-maker is the "bambera". This is nearly as large as a hornet, and it forms its nest upon the bough of a tree, from which it lines like a Cheshire cheese, being about the same thickness, but five or six inches greater in diameter. The honey of this bee is not so much esteemed as that from the smaller varieties, as the flavor partakes too strongly of the particular flower which the bee has frequented; thus in different seasons the honey varies in flavor, and is sometimes so highly aperient that it must be used with much caution. This property is of course derived from the flower which the bee prefers at that particular season. The wax of the comb is the purest and whitest of any kind produced in Ceylon. So partial are these bees to particular flowers that they migrate from place to place at different periods in quest of flowers which are then in bloom.

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