The Vulture Bees that Make “meat honey”

Bees make honey from nectar right? Well not all bees. There is one type of bee – the Vulture bee – that makes its honey from rotting flesh.

The Freaky has always considered the real world as strange and freaky as any sci-fi world and vulture bees are further proof of this.  

Vulture bees (or Trigona necrophaga to use their scientific name) can be found across Central and South America. Rather than flitting from flower to flower collecting nectar and pollen these bees prefer to feast on dead animals to create “meat honey.” 

Vulture bees burrow into the eyes of the decaying corpses and harvest the rotting flesh. They then carry their harvest back to the hive in a special stomach compartment. At the hive they vomit it up and worker bees, using special digestive enzymes, convert it into “meat honey” a honey like substance that is stored and used to feed the hive. 

These carnivorous bees have stronger teeth and jaws than their vegetarian cousins. Even so they are tiny and not strong enough to chew through flesh which is why, like maggots, they enter the corpse through the eye sockets.

The Vulture Bees that Make "meat honey"
Vulture bees feasting on a corpse.

When a bee finds a corpse they release pheromones that alert other bees to their food find. It is said that they can strip all the meat away from the carcass of a small mammal in a few hours. 

vulture bee nest
Sometimes vulture bees will build their nest on a dead animal. Such as this nest on an opossum corpse.

And if you are wondering what “meat honey” tastes like we are too. Thera are no records of humans sampling the honey.

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