Stingless bees, sometimes known as stingless honeybees, are a diverse collection of species that are all members of the tribe Meliponini of the larger Apidae family.
Similar to honeybees, stingless bees exhibit high levels of social intelligence in the form of females raising young with the help and cooperation of non-reproductive members of the community.
Stingless bee males and females
The chromosomes determine the gender of stingless bees.
Two sets of chromosomes will be passed down to female stingless bees, often known as workers, one from the colony’s queen and one from the drone she mated with.
A queen depositing unfertilized larvae will result in male stingless bees, sometimes known as drones, with only one chromosome.
A female stingless bee wants to become a queen, but how?
Stingless bee queens are primarily produced from an excess of pollen, unlike honeybee queens, who are given a special “royal jelly” during the larval stage.
This implies that any female bees who eat a lot of pollen have the potential to develop into queens.
When a queen reaches adulthood, she instantly departs to mate, but unlike honeybee queens, only a few of these virgin queens will survive their flight to reproduce.
This is made possible by the overproduction of queens, which also guarantees that at least some of the new queens will be able to mate and return to their new nests safely.
Stingless bees build new nests in what manner?
In quest of a fresh nest site for a brand-new colony, stingless bee workers will depart from the main nest in a procession.
When they choose a suitable site, they will start construction on the new nest in the hopes that a virgin queen making her way back from her mating flight will choose to settle there.
In order to advance the species and ensure their continuous survival, the workers from the initial exploratory procession will typically remain at the new location to help the queen and build a new nest.
Bees that don’t sting produce honey.
Stingless bee species can produce Honey in a manner akin to that of western honeybees, but not all of them can.
Stingless bees are utilized in Australia for their capacity to produce honey, although on a considerably smaller scale than honeybees.
The expanded rear legs of Australian stingless bees, which are coated in microscopic hairs, enable them to store extra pollen while searching for food.
Additionally, they gather nectar, which they store in a crop, which is an addition to their gut.
The bees will then start ripening, a process in which they carry the nectar from one mouth part to the next, gradually drying it up.
The nectar will eventually transform into honey as a result of this gradual dehydration process, which eventually raises the sugar content and reduces surplus moisture.
Since stingless bee honey has a significantly lower sugar content than regular honey, it is more viscous and spoils more quickly.
Intriguingly, a 2020 study found that some stingless bee species generate honey with trehalose sugar.
This sugar is an excellent substitute for those with diabetes or those who want to prevent tooth decay because it has a substantially lower glycaemic index (GI) than conventional honey.
Brazilian stingless bees, in contrast to their relatives, are capable of producing more honey per worker than honeybees do.
One gallon or four liters of honey can be produced annually by colonies with no more than 1000 bees.
Because of its lower sugar content and therapeutic properties, stingless bee honey is regarded as being much more valuable.
As a result, stingless bee honey may sell for 10–20 times more than conventional honey made by western honeybees.
Stingless bee behaviour
Most stingless bees are extremely calm, which makes them ideal for urban beekeepers.
Because they are so passive, many hobby beekeepers choose to raise stingless bees only to protect the species and not to produce any form of honey.
Keeping bees can be a terrific method to guarantee the expansion and success of regional flora because stingless bees are also active pollinators.