I was lucky enough to see these bees in southern India last December (I know, I'm showing off now ... ). They had made several single-comb nests in a big tree, something they do every year before migrating off to better pastures. They were being harassed by bee-eaters, something else I hadn't seen before. Nearby were colonies of another asiatic honeybee, Apis cerana, this time in small wooden hives. This species is the native one in Japan, and there they use a similar wave but this time to signal to each other to get ready to pounce on the hornet! For those that haven't seen the videos of native Japanese bees dealing with scout Giant Hornets:
I have been stung on the foot by Apis dorsata in Borneo, it didn't hurt any more than our bees. They have the unnerving habit of sipping sweat, which us pale European types do in buckets in that climate. Saturated clothes hung to dry were covered in bees and other insects sipping up the salts. I was stung on the foot when I went to the toilet, bees and ants were in there too sipping salty splashes. Nice.
The bees nest in a certain pale barked type of tree (the bee trees, as the guide called them...) which are left alone because they don't give good timber and presumably give lots of honey. The trees are huge as are the nests and the job of removing them from below the branches must be far more difficult than the cliff face on the video. The honey itself is the nicest I have ever had and is sold in plastic corked soy sauce bottles. And it is cheap.
It was a big pale-barked 'bee tree' in Tamil Nadu as well.
The salty tale reminds me that early last spring I decided to go gloveless (at least until one colony's behaviour made that impossible ) and, sitting down on a tree stump to measure some free-drawn comb, noticed a bee on the back of my hand licking the skin. Any of you glove-less types see that often?