Sunday Night Movie: Stingless Bees in Battle

If you can get past the cheesy narration, this Nat Geo clip shows some excellent footage of Mesoamerican stingless bees:

6 thoughts on “Sunday Night Movie: Stingless Bees in Battle”

  1. Where are Angle Bees from? As much as I love my Honey Bees I’ve had an interest in attempting other types of bees even if they are only annual hives. I have Mason Bees (though apparently they’re an invasive nonnative species). I’ve seen sweat bees inspecting bird houses, never had any luck with bumblebees. Are there any tactics to attracting other types of social bees?

  2. Those are Tetragonisca angustula, a common meliponine species found from Mexico to Argentina. They are a fair bit smaller than honey bees.

    I used to have a colony of these when living in Paraguay. As I recall they made up to two or so pounds of rather dilute honey a year and were easy to keep- just stick them in a box and the honey accumulates in modules around the edges of the brood nest.

    But, Tetragonisca are tropical bees that are unlikely to forage well in temperate ecosystems. They certainly won’t overwinter.

  3. I kept a couple of hives of Trigona carbonaria when I lived in Brisbane. As you say for the honey of Tetragonisca angustula, it was rather thin, but with a lemony taste (although I’m not sure I wanted to know exactly what went into it). The comb was formed in a spiral, which was rather interesting. Every year, though, there would be a war between the hives and a giant cloud of tiny black beezerkers would form and tumble down in buzzing, biting pairs, eventually littering the ground with tiny dismembered bodies. I always wondered why they couldn’t just learn to get along, but perhaps the number of nest sites was limiting.

    I wouldn’t mind keeping Trigona again, they were always entertaining and don’t sting, but no way they’d survive an Albertan winter. Can’t keep honeybees here either, because Edmonton bylaws forbid them. There is a move to try and allow backyard bees, but also a lot of bias against honeybees – they are dirty and someone might die from a bee sting is what you read in the papers whenever someone tries to get bee keeping approved.

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