Artificial entrance tubes
I saw a picture in Malaysia of stingless bees on a really amazing entrance tube. I researched it and decided there were too many reasons not to make an artificial one.
Here is a video containing some of the reasons I wanted bee cones.
Entrance tube info
When stingless bees are trying to cool a hive, pulling air across a flat surface is inefficient. Bees standing in a cone or funnel shape entrance allows them to pull air in much faster.
Stingless bees most commonly make entrance tubes for defense of their hive with the main predator being ants. When ants attack over a long period of time, the bees extend their entrance tunnel to match – the longer the tube the longer the ant attack has been going on for. Entrance tubes are made sticky on the edge to prevent ants walking over the edge. As the tube collects dust from the air bees have to continually extend the tube to renew the stickiness of the tube.
Here is some great footage of the stingless bee “Itama” from Malaysia that someone filmed. You can see the bees working that sticky edge.
Bee Cone Information
- Bee cones are made from plastic and fit into a 12mm entrance hole
- Different colours allow seasonal visual marking of hives
- The curve of cone allows efficient airflow assistance to bees while “fanning”
- Bee cones can be removed and replaced to clear seed and resin to allow even airflow to hive
- Holes near the base of the cone help to confuse phorid fly and other pests that land on the hive and make it difficult for geckos to eat bees
- Cones can be used during a swarm to swap the bees focus from the hive they are attacking to a new hive baited with brood.
I found this little article talking about entrance size being comparative to traffic and defensiveness.
If you haven’t seen my video on ventilation have a look as it will help explain the use of bee cones in aiding ventilation.