Austroplebeia Cincta are considered one of Australia’s less common species of social stingless bee. Its bright yellow lines paint the bee’s dark polished body like a fancy sports car. I really like the way this bee looks.
The first notable appearance of this bee since the 60’s was a photo taken by Paul Zborowsk in 2008 (featured below). He had help from Robert Luttrel and Claus Rasmussen in identifying it as Austroplebeia Cincta. Later a student by the name of Hellen Wallace who was studying the distribution of the cadaghi seed, was on Lewis Robert’s property and asked about the bees. She sent some samples of the bee to Anne Dollin to look at. Anne traveled to Lewis’s property and wrote an article about them. Read about what she saw here.
Entrances of the Austroplebeia cincta are quite large for a very small bee. The bee measures about 3mm at an estimate and the tunnel sizes ranged from 16- 19mm. They fold the edge of the tunnel outwards and place sticky resin on the perimeter so no tree ants are able to pass over the edge of the tunnel. I asked Lewis Roberts about tunnel lengths and he said ” The length is to do with how long a nest is threatened by ants, all bees do it here except Hockingsi and Carbonaria. ”
Brood is very similar to what I have seen in my Symei hives with very rounded cells being joined together in a cluster. As it ages and the silk is spun you can see it separate a bit from this fashion. Nests are often built in very solid logs with only a small cavity inside. The one below was in a golf ball size hollow in a tree that was 500mm round.
Lewis once put two symei bees and a cincta in a container to send away to be analyzed. The cincta killed both symei so for their size they can certainly hold their own.