Monday, May 28, 2007

Bees at Lake Hevea

You'll need to click onto the thumbnail image to see the detail of bees collecting rubber latex from a smoked ball of rubber. I have no idea what the bees are doing with the rubber they take away from the small lakes of liquid latex in the rubber ball. It has nothing to do with the fact that it was smoked because over the last three years I've seen the same species of bees reduce coagulated latex (sernambi) samples to much of nothing. I wonder if the material might be used in the construction of nests, as opposed to food. The attached image is a close up of a small area of the smoked rubber ball, which used to be the way rubber was preserved for shipment to the industrial word in far away in places like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Today the latex is kept in liquid form by adding ammonia to the collection vessels. This is the rubber used for making surgical gloves, condoms and other prime rubber products. I bought this smoked rubber ball from Milton Marques, a fellow Lions Club member, around 1987. Sr. Milton was the primary buyer of rubber for all of this region when it was still a viable market. He has since died, as has the market.

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