FAQ about Stingless bees
Dean and I decided to put together some of the common questions that we get about Stingless bees – both from new hive owners and in general. If you have additional questions, post a reply below, we would love to hear your queries and add them here.
For the most part this is normal and you don’t need to worry. Swarms happen for a variety of reasons. Colonizing swarm, mating swarm, defensive swarms and take over swarms . For the most part this is normal and you don’t need to worry. Read Deans post on swarms. If there are large numbers of dead bees outside a swarming hive you can consider closing the hive at night and moving them to a safe location.
Are Native Bees affected by honeybee diseases?
Honey bees are facing enormous challenges in different parts of the world. Native stinglees bees are not affected by European or American foul brood disease. They are not susceptible to varoa destructor bee mite if it enters Australia. As such, native bees act as an insurance policy if we lose our honeybees.
Small hive beetle and a variety of native pests can invade weak colonies but for the most part stingless bees are very adept at keeping their hive free from pests.
Am I doing something to help the world?
Yes! Keeping bees is a wonderful way to preserve the varied bee genetics from being lost. Wild bees will mate with your bees and vise versa. This keeps the gene pool varied and strong. You are also potentially buying a hive that would have been cut down and not survived.
Are native bees safe for children?
They certainly are! My own children often poke their finger in the bee’s entrance holes and don’t even get a nip.
Are they safe for pets?
Unless your pet eats insects they are fine and live quite happily with dogs, cats and many more.
I see dead bees!! Are they ok?
Yes, as long as the dead bees are outside your box on the ground it’s normal. Stingless bees often carry out dead bees and rubbish from the hive which can bee seen in front of their hive. If your bees are dead inside your box then that is a different story.
I want to move house! Can I take them?
Sure!! Close the box at night and move the bees to a suitable location at your new home and open the hive. Some people even take stingless bees with them on holidays!
Where do I put my hive?
It is recommended that your hive is placed out of direct sunlight in the heat of the day. Shade will not hurt your bees.
Do they need water?
Native bees do drink when it gets really hot. You can provide a water container or wet hessian sack as is recommended on some web sites, however I’m sure they will find a dripping tap easily enough.
Do I have to feed them?
No you don’t have to feed them. Native bees do very well in suburban gardens. Some say even better than natural bush areas due to people planting flowers and watering gardens.
Do I HAVE to split them or remove honey?
Some people are worried that the bee hive will overfill if they don’t do these management techniques. Don’t worry. You can leave your beehive in peace for decades and there is no harm.
CAN I get honey?
Yes you can. The honey is delicious – we’ll be doing a post on this soon!
What do I really have to worry about?
Heat waves! Once your hive is established and healthy this is about the only thing that will kill it. Temperatures greater than 40ºC are dangerous. If they are in even partial sun in these conditions, watch out!
Can I move them?
Read the blog for moving native bees techniques.
Will they pollinate my plants?
Absolutely. Native bees are great pollinators.
Are they educational?
Extremely interesting and educational. A clear window under the lid is a must so you can enjoy seeing inside the hive. Overhead projector film is a safe and easy-to-use plastic for this.
Do they sting?
No. They do not sting but they can bite when you open the hive. It’s just a little nip.
Is it ok to use fly spray and insecticides?
Bees are very easily killed by fly spray and insecticides. Spraying inside your house is fine. Coating your yard in insecticides is not cool.