May is the month when the woods of Kerala bloom in abundance with myriad flowers. The tribal people say that the flowers that bloom in the forests in different seasons are each unique. Some trees completely shed their leaves while some others blossom with beautiful yellow and red flowers on it.
The tribal people set out into the forest to collect fresh honey in the month of May. It is a common sight, during this month, especially in the forests of Wayanad. The Kattunaykkar tribes who reside in the Thirunelli area find their livelihood mainly by collecting honey. The bees set up their hives on top of huge trees in the dense forest. The hives are mostly found on terminalia bellirica (thanni), terminalia crenulata (kari maruthu), and teak trees.
Four types of honey including sting-less bee honey and forest honey are collected from the forests in Wayanad. Beehives can be found inside the mud dunes as well. Each group lives in the forest for weeks to collect the honey.
During their stay in the forests, the tribal people follow unique eating patterns and dishes. The wild potatoes are abundantly available in the forests. Another unique dish that the tribal people love to eat is a special curry made with baby honey bees.
The baby bees are collected from the cells of the comb where the honey is stored. The bees is sautéed well with aromatic spices and made into a delicious curry. Crispy fritters, too, are prepared using different leaves collected from the forests. The Kattunaykars vouch for not only the mouth watering taste of the honey bee curry but also the incredible nutritious value of it.