Any Australian Beekeepers keeping native stingless bees?

I just watched a really fascinating Youtube video about a guy keeping native stingless bees. They were small, black/blueish and kept in very small (approx 10"x10") hives. From what I saw they seem to be much better pollinators then honey producers but he did say they do produce some honey.

They’re not something I’d ever be able to get my hands on here in the states but it was pretty interesting.


I saw some Native bees at Kuranda in Queensland. I was chatting to the local Bee Keeper who owns the Honey House in Kuranda She said they were way too small for conventional hives - She has bought Flow hives as well.

I have contacted her perhaps she can give you more details

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My wife keeps these little bees and our place is used for hive splits every year by the local council, they are quite endearing but I wouldn’t go as far as their effectiveness in pollinating over honeybees. If you look at my profile picture you will see the native hive in the background, about a kilo of honey a season.

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@adagna Are you asking about native bees in relation to the Flow Frames?
Native Australian bees won’t work with the Flow Frames because they have a totally different honeycomb structure.

No no. I just came across them on YouTube and was interested in them.

I have a few friends who keep them. Not for getting honey but just as cute friendly little native creatures to have around. The honey isn’t quite so nice, it has a kind of strong sour taste, interesting to try though.

cool thanks for the responses. It seems like for the most part our local bees are all solitary bees.

There are many species of stingless bees and South & Central America have long histories of Stingless Beekeeping. Perhaps there could be something nearer to you than you think. They aren’t great honey producers but they are great pollinators. I have a colony above a small veggie patch and nearly every flower has fruited! We have about six colonies living in various parts of house: concrete blocks, old disused drainpipes, fencing, etc, and I’m presently trying to encourage one of them to take up, or ‘split’ into a small hive I made for them. They are fascinating :slight_smile:
Good luck.

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Hi Ricky:
Are you saying there are stingless bees in the US, in the south? I am intrigued :blush:
If so how does one encourage them to take up residence? I am in Zone7 south of Charlotte, NC.

I don’t know about in the US Gayle, I’ve only read of them so far in Central and South America (continents). My splitting attempt isn’t going so well, yet. But the general idea is to either put the colony in a box, or a tube from their current exit into a premade box as I’m attempting to do at present. The bees, ANB’s (Australian Native Bees) keep gnawing new exits from my set up to circumvent the new hive!
If you are in the south of the USA however I’d reckon there’s a good chance you’re in the right climate zone for them as they don’t do so well in colder climes.
Good luck.

Interesting thing, taste. I think native bee honey is one of the most delicious things. Perfect drizzled over a good vanilla ice cream. different flavour profiles depending on location, just like honey from the feral imported European honeybee ( yeah, just fun trolling in that last bit!)


Hi Therese, I have some native bees, fantastic little creatures. The honey is a real luxury, I reckon. I love it drizzled on Bunya pancakes on Australia Day:):slight_smile:

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I have a Macca Farm in the Northern Rivers, have a couple of stingless bee hives. Fun little guys to watch and pretty much harmless to anyone including those allergic to honey bee stings. There is some research done about their ability to pollinate better then the honey bees, it would make sense on native plants and trees like macca’s. That being said, from what I ve read you would need about 20-30 hives per acre and given they go for about 400-500 bucks a hive you’d wanna be keen. Luckily we have huge amounts of honey bees hanging around as well.


I transferred some bees from my observation hive to a nuc box. A native beehive is nearby. A honeybee got a bit close to the native beehive entrance. This is the outcome.

Woe betide any insect that tries to enter a native hive. They have a couple of natural enemies that try to lay eggs in the native bee larvae. The Syrphid fly & the Phorid fly, so I guess the bees are genetically programmed to attack anything that resembles one of those flies.

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That’s how honey bees used to be (and still are, I guess in some parts of the world) till we bred it out of them

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Interesting. I guess they don’t see humans as a threat, but honey bees, yes :open_mouth: I guess they look a bit like a wasp who would try and get in and steal their honey.

Better to defend, and not have the wasp/bee fly off and tell his mates where to find the stash :wink:

Hi & thank you Faroe, it’s the native Phorid & Syrphid flies they are defending against. Either of those flies want to lay eggs in their larvae. Much the same as SHB want to lay eggs in the bee larvae. Given half a chance, the SHB will lay eggs in the native bee larvae as well.

Watch this space. Later on I’ll be splitting a native hive, my 4th & final one in recent weeks. Seeing as it’s the last one for a while, I’ll take some photos to share.

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A few hours later, here’s the bees working their entrance.

After removing the lid to reveal the nest through the viewing window.

Upon removing the viewing window, some brood was adhered to the window.

A closeup of the brood pattern.

This photo shows the advancing front, slightly behind the emerging rear. Note the difference between new brood & old brood.

This photo shows stored pollen as well as stored honey in sugar bags. Note the clear space between the brood mass & stored honey/pollen.

This one shows the nest after removal of brood mass.

I’m showing the 2 used boxes I’m using for each split. I’ve reduced the entrance sizes to 6mil by using their own wax. I’ve evenly split the brood for each box. Also I’ve only put small amounts of honey/pollen into each split, as well as some of their dry wax.

A little sweet reward for us to enjoy.

The bees will move into the new boxes over the next few days. With the use of viewing windows, I’ll be able to monitor each population. If I need to, I can swap positions to equalize population numbers.

Finally the view of a new advancing front in a split we did about 5 weeks ago. Last week a customer picked up the other 1/2 that was split into his empty box. This was once we confirmed a new advancing front, also the sighting of his queen.


PS, it’s important to reduce the entrance, as well as tape up any cracks in order to keep predators out. Natural predators being Phorid Flies & Syrphid Flies. Unnatural predators being hive beetles.

Only placing small amounts of honey/pollen is also part of the strategy.


That is awesome Jeff! Shame we don’t have any here in the south west.

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