When Leonard Francis first rang me I was intrigued and excited. You see he explained that he had tried to get a hold of a stingless bee hive from Queensland but no one would sell him one because the bees would die in his climate. This is the story of keeping stingless bees in Canberra.
He asked if there was any way to keep them and I told him a story I had been told about a man in Melbourne who had done this. He used an old bar fridge to keep them in and this provided the insulation. I believe he also used a feeder but i am unsure. Leonard said that he could achieve this and promised to document his journey along the way. Below is a video that explains this and his emails that he sent me along the way.
The Bee chronicles by Leonard Francis
Guest by Leonard Francis
Stingless bees in Canberra 4/6/18
Welcome to my first entry of ‘The Bee Chronicles’!! I will use a
similar format when charting the progress and escapades of the hive.
The bees arrived approximately 1030 am by Australia Post courier. When
I unpacked them outside, on the back deck, there were a whole bunch of
bees excitedly hanging around the entrance hole mesh. I positioned the
hive in the chosen location, and then unscrewed the mesh. Immediately
approximately 5-10 bees came out and dropped down on to the ground to
explore. Unfortunately the temperature was only around 16.5, overcast
with cloud, and with slight rain. The bees that were outside eventually
stopped moving and laid on their sides. I’m thinking they’ve died
because of the cold temp. Upon observing the entrance hole there is a
large mass of the bees just hovering inside about 3 cm inside the
entrance hole, just waiting there and later in the day they had
retreated further back into the hive. I had a look at the top entrance
panel and there is still plenty of activity inside the hive.
The weather forecast for the next couple of days is in the mid 16-19 C
range so I don’t expect to see them much outside the hive. Temps
increase to 20-22 later in the week.
As indicated here is the first pic of the hive in location.
Stingless bees in Canberra 10/6/18
A quick update after a full day outdoors for the hive.
After showing the hive the outdoors when it arrived the temps in
Canberra dropped for the past two days, so I kept the hive indoors over
the last two days.
The weather forecast indicated temps above 18.C today so at around
midday I took the hive out and placed it in it’s final position, and
took the mesh off the entrance hole. To say the bees were just chomping
at the bit to get out would be an understatement. At midday it was
15-16.C and while the bees came out they didn’t immediately fly. Most
of them were walking around.
Within 30 minutes the large mass of bees started to exit the hive and
for the next hour I watched the ‘flying backwards’ and orientation
activities of the hives. That essentially went on for about 2 hours.
Later in the afternoon the bees transitioned over to ‘cleaning the hive’
mode with all manner of round balls, and dead bees, being deposited
around 2-3 feet in front of the hive. That went on for the most of the
afternoon and as the afternoon sun warmed the front of the hive, the
bees removed some resin from around the front entrance hole.
Activity died down in the last 30 minutes as the temps started to drop
with only a couple of bees, with rubbish, exiting the hive. Some bees
were still flying at 16.C at 5.30 pm but now most activity has ceased
and the bees are inside the hive.
That’s all for today. I shan’t write everyday but wanted to pass on my
observations from the first full day outside. The temps in the coming
days are conducive to flying so now I shall monitor and observe the
activities of the hive in general.
Stingless bees in Canberra 10/9/18
A short update. The bees are generally up and about around 8 am just
hovering inside the entrance tube when I get up and have a look. It was
15.C, at 8 am, and at around 10 am they were already flying with the
temps at 17.0.C.
Yesterday returning from the post office in the morning, I saw the first
bees returning to the hive with pollen on their back legs. The yellow
of the pollen immediately caught my eye, with the bees landing just
outside the entrance tube and then heading straight in with their pollen
load. The temps were 20.0.C at 11.45 am. So that is a good sign.
Over the past two days the pattern is the same for the hive; the bees
retreat into the middle of the hive around 6.30pm, are busily warming
themselves by 8 pm and don’t really get active again until later in the
following morning around 8 am. They poke their heads out of the
entrance tube around 9 am and then are into flying by 10 am; all
dependent on the weather.
The temps today were good and when I checked the hive after lunch every
third or fourth bee returning to the hive had a big load of pollen
attached. They don’t even slow down now but just smash straight into
the entrance tube; except when one doesn’t quite line it up and bounces
of the side. Pretty funny to watch.
I find the bees very fascinating and amuse my wife no end, as she sees
me sitting outside just watching the hive.
Stingless bees in Canberra
Latest observations. The bees don’t really like the cold weather but we
already knew that. At 9.45 pm last night they were all inside the hive,
and placing my ear against the entrance hole, I could hear the humming
sound from the bees warming themselves, as well as noticing the guards
that were just inside the entrance hole. Last night was a cold one with
the temps down around 3-6.C. At 8.30 am this morning I checked the hive
and could only just hear the humming sound at the entrance, and when I
cracked the clear lid on top I could only see only a couple of bees
moving very slowly, seemingly groggy, on the top area. I have assumed
the majority of the bees were deep inside the centre of the hive, where
it was warmer.
There was no real movement for the early morning but by midday the
activity ramped up. The temps at that time was around 17.C and by 12.30
the bees were out and about, and really active at the top of the hive.
The sweet spot for hive activity appears, at this early stage, between 3-6
pm, as the hive is in the direct path of the afternoon sun. There is
some dappled shade provided by an orange tree but it is quite warming
on the front of the hive. Around 3 pm the temp was 20.C and the bees
were really active.
I recorded the activity of bees in and out over 4 subsequent 60 second
periods with the following observed results.
Time: 4.15 pm Temp: 20.1.C
In 31 Out 40
The rate of bee activity was much greater by 5 pm, with cleaning
continuing. The casualties were lower than yesterday with only around
10-15 dead bees on the ground by the end of the day. By 6.15 most of
the frenetic activity had ceased and the bees were generally hanging out
at the entrance with the temps at 18.2.C, with a full 360 degree circle
of guards just inside the entrance tube. I did notice that when the
bees arrive back at the hive they head straight into the entrance so it
is pretty clear they now know their way home. There were a few
stragglers still returning directly to the hive entrance around 6.35 pm
with the temps around 17.6.C.
Now that I have observed them for a full 24 hour period I am going to
just observe on a random basis for the next week and see if a pattern
emerges. Tomorrow’s forecast temps should be a good guide to see how
the hive reacts. I have included a screenshot.
I was also thinking that when I have the insulated box made up I could
actually just leave the hive inside it all year round. That would make
it easier on the hive, not being moved, and I could then just focus on
feeding them during the colder months. This would also allow for a more
regulated insulated environment. I am also thinking I would need to
have a tube running from the air hole, at the back of the hive, to the
outside of the box at the back. This would mean there are only two
holes; one at the entrance and one at the back for air.
I also could put a stop-cock on the internal tubing so that I could
simply turn off access to the internal feeder in summer. That way I
could leave all the internal feeder tubing and container in location,
inside the insulated box and just refill as necessary.
Stingless bees in Canberra 10/16/18
A quick update on the hive of activity that is occurring in my
The bee cones arrived yesterday and I put one on overnight, when the
bees were all inside. They didn’t particularly like it too much this
morning so I have removed it at this stage. I think the bees have gotten
used to their normal exit hole at this point.
Over the last couple of days, where the temps have been consistently in
the early to mid 20’s, during the day, there has been a veritable
‘explosion’ in activity in the hive. Everything is quiet in the hive
until the temp hits around 15-16.C. and they come out for a look. There
are bees, in one’s and two’s, flying around 16.5.C but the majority just
hand around the entrance waiting for it to warm up a bit. As soon as it
hits 17.C. they’re out and into things.
Just about every other bee is now returning to the hive with pollen and
I have noticed a range of pollen colours (ranging from almost white, to
pale yellow, to very vibrant yellow, as well as darker brown and some
red pollen as well). Today I noticed the first bees returning with
nectar droplets on their back legs.
It is fascinating to watch the entrance because at times it becomes a
bit of a traffic jam/train smash as so many bees are trying to return at
the same time as bees trying to exit. Add on top of this the poor bees
who are doing cleaning/rubbish duties who get bumped out of the way, and
it looks like a real mash-up of activity.
I also noticed today at the join of the two hive sections that the joins
are expanding slightly. I noticed a bee exit via a small hole in one of
the join areas so I plugged it with the resin you supplied. I also
noticed the expanded join at the back of the hive but it appears the
bees are sealing that up. Should I just let the bees handle it by
plugging their own gaps or should I wrap the join in tape to assist?
Regards from a warmer Canberra,
Stingless bees in Canberra 12/25/18
A quick update as to the bees and how they are tracking. As the warmer
weather has arrived things have settled into a routine, with the bees up
and around starting from 16.5.C and definitely flying as the temperature
hits 18.C. I have noticed no shortage of bees returning to the hive
with both pollen, of all colours, as well as nectar so there is
definitely food sources close by. In the last week I have noticed that
some of the bees are exiting the hive still with what looks either like
brown pollen, or possibly even some form of resin. Either way it has
been more noticeable in the last week. I figured they were close to
final building inside the hive because over the last two months I’ve
noticed a structure getting closer to the top of the hive viewing
plastic piece. The whole area has been consumed by both the connective
structures, and there is no shortage of workers busily moving to and fro
along the peripheral spaces as well. I am thinking that maybe they have
almost finished building hence the workers are leaving the hive with
excess resin etc… I have added a picture for your reference so that
you can see the progress.
Having said that I did give the bees a Christmas present of a nice piece
of the resin block that you gave me. I put a small piece near the
entrance hole and within two hours it was gone. From a behaviour
perspective they get a bit annoyed if I inadvertently stand in front of
the hive entrance tube, and every couple of days drop a whole heap of
rubbish out in front of the hive, which you have indicated is a good
All in all things are good. I might actually bring the hive inside
during the next week as we are expecting ‘heat wave’ conditions of 37-39
degrees. I think that will probably be a bit too hot for the hive.
Stingless bees in Canberra
No doubt you have been tracking the recent hot weather week we have been
having in Canberra, with the temps for the last week averaging between
I had the hive inside during the hottest of the heat wave days and put
them out again last night. As soon as I opened the mesh from the
entrance hole the bees surged out and a whole heap of them were out and
about walking around. I had not previously seen so many bees walking on
Today there were less bees walking around but more in a sort of a swarm
out the front of the hive flying around in circles. Is this normal
behaviour after such a hot weather event?
The last two days has seen a ceasing of the swarming activity but each
day there is no shortage of dead bees outside of the hive, especially
when I check in the morning. I have noticed that each day there is
around 40-50 dead bees scattered outside the front area of the hive.
This afternoon, after an early finish to the work day, I did notice that
these dead bees are being carted outside by other bees and left as far
away from the hive, up to 6 feet away. I also noticed that there are
some light brown dead bees being carted out so that leads me to believe
that juvenile or freshly hatched bees, that didn’t survive the hot
weather snap, are being systematically removed from the hive. I have
had a look a the top of the hive, through the inspection plastic, and
there appears to be a reasonable amount of activity, but there looks to
be less bees than normal. I note also that there doesn’t appear to be
the usual range of ‘rubbish’ but moreso dead bees.
I did also notice today that some of the bees are returning with pollen,
so that is a good sign.
All I can think of is that the hive obviously got hot, even inside the
house, during the recent heat wave and that a reasonable number of bees
did not survive the heat. The hive appears to be functioning as normal,
although I am a bit concerned about the dead bees littered outside the
hive. I think, at this point, the bees are conducting a clean up of the
inside of the hive and removing all the bees that died during the heat
wave. With the workers returning with pollen it seems like things are
getting back to normal.
I have put a shade area in front of the hive so that it doesn’t get the
hot afternoon sun. I will continue to monitor the activity levels and
let you know how the hive is getting on.
Stingless bees in Canberra 1/31/19
Now that the temps have returned to a more manageable and lower level
(tops of 35), the bees seem to have returned to some semblance of
‘normality’. The activity in the days immediately after the super-hot
spell saw a steady stream of dead bees being deposited outside the hive
and not a lot of activity inside the hive; at least from being observed
via the top clear screen. As the days progressed the numbers of
casualties deposited outside grew fewer and fewer to the point now, it
is seems activity is back to ‘normal’. There has been an increase in
rubbish removals from the hive, and I have now erected a shade screen in
front of the hive which protects it from the harsh afternoon westerly
sun. Activity and bee numbers has increased inside the hive when viewed
through the top clear screen. There also seems to be a return to normal
foraging so I am hopeful that all things have returned to normal.
My bespoke carpenter continues to make design refinements with the last
sets of drawings working out the details for the internal feeder. It
will have enough space for three internal open containers. The larger
of the containers will have the sugar solution, with two smaller
containers containing the pollen and resin respectively. At this point
we are looking at a final build by the middle of Feb, with home delivery
and installation later in Feb. I will keep you posted with photos of
the completed efforts for your reference.
Arrival of Insulated hive box 3/24/19
A quick email to bring you up to speed on what has been happening since
the arrival, delivery, and installation of the new bee hive insulated
The arrival occurred two weeks ago. My original intent was to move the
bees in when the temperatures started to drop around ANZAC Day, but then
I thought I could move them in now so that they could get used to the
place. I installed the heating element, and clear tubing, as well as
one of the bee cones at the front.
Long story, short: The boys are in and happy. It took them about two
days to become used to the new house, as well as the new bee cone. I
sweetened the deal with some resin on the actual bee cone. They are
quite used to the new house now.
The actual hive insulated box is better than I expected especially the
associated leg stand, fully insulated and thick walls, and insulated
roof. I will send a bunch of emails after this one with pics so that I
don’t crash your email inbox.
I also built one of me bee feeder which is a simple china ramekin dish,
with a simple circular feeder plate (made from a plastic chopping board)
and secured by a screw into the wooden handle. Pics to follow.
All in all the boys are in, the heating element and control panel are
installed, I have an internal thermometer/humidity gauge inside, and
things are looking good.
Internal Workings Insulated Hive Box 4/22/19
An update and a new pic.
All is good with the insulated bee box and the hive itself is fine. The
temps have slowly been dropping over the last couple of weeks with it
being quite cool in the mornings. I have noticed that the boys are
still quite active in the middle of the day and are still out and about
when the temps are above 18°C. I notice today, at 1000, when the temp
was 22.2°C that there was a mass of activity around the cone. I had
also just given the boys a resin treat and they inevitably swarmed all
over it. I have attached a pic for reference.
A close-up look at the returning bees shows that, even at this late
stage in April, some are returning laden with pollen so that tells me
that there are still resources around for them to forage. I will
probably hook up the internal feeder box next weekend and see if they
find their way inside it. I will wait a little bit before providing the
actual feeder to see if they still go outside.
Stingless bees in Canberra 4/29/19
During the warmer months I would regularly observe the bees returning
with what I assumed was pollen as it was a mix of different coloured
yellow blobs on their back legs, as well as a clear liquid which I also
assumed was nectar. The bees that came back with the red-reddish-brown
and brown blobs on their back legs were less in number but it was
certainly noticeable. Of note there is a large number of gum trees in
the close vicinity of our house, as well as large park with a great
number of well-established trees, of different varieties, within 500m of
our house. I have assumed the bees have been foraging there as well.
The last time I checked inside the top of the hive, via the clear panel,
I did notice; amongst the interconnecting tunnels along the sides of the
hive wall, there were also a range of what looked like small seeds
encased within the structure. I shall have another look this week and
try to get a close-up picture for you to look at. I have noticed that
the actual volume of construction in the hive has greatly increased
toward the top limit of the hive box since the bees have arrived in
Canberra. I have taken that as a good sign as it means they are happy
in their location and are conducting building to increase the size of
the hive to fill the volume that is available.
Whenever I have a look inside the hive, but without removing the clear
access panel at the top, there is always a lot of activity so I am
assuming the bees are active within the hive.
The weather since ANZAC Day has taken a turn colder and it has been
noticeable. This morning the outside temperature at 7 am was 2.6 °C yet
within the insulated hive box the temperature gauge listed it at 17.1°C
so I am really happy about that. With the downturn in temps I am
looking to place the internal feeder into the hive this week and to
establish the feeding solution [produced according to your youtube
video!]. This will be a pivotal time to see if the bees go to the feed
solution. I will also include a small lid with pollen on it for them to
collect as well.
Stingless bees in Canberra 5/5/19
Just a quick email with some pics and an update.
I have installed the internal feeder in the insulated hive box today as
the temps have well and truly dropped over the last week and the
forecast is for lower temps next week.
I have placed the actual feeder inside the box, and have fashioned two
of the sponge rings to use in case of too many losses as you suggested.
I have also included a small container with pollen as well. Pics are
I shall keep you informed as to how this goes. This is what I consider
the crux moment so hopefully once the boys realise there is food in the
feeder they’ll go to it.
More details to follow once I have them.
Low temperatures 5/16/19
A quick update on the bee situation.
The temps have really dropped off over the past week with most days only
just reaching 16-18.C so the boys have well and truly stayed indoors.
The internal temp of the box is between 19-22 thanks to the internal
I did notice that the original feeder, with the hard plastic floater,
had too much of a gap around the edge which resulted in a few of the
bees drowning. I also noticed initially that the bees could find the
internal feeder area but weren’t finding their way back into the tube
that leads back to the hive, and were just hanging around in the
internal feeder box.
I swapped out the plastic float feeder for a thin sponge but that too
had too much play around the sides, and a few holes in it which again
resulted in a few bees drowning.
Yesterday I changed to a different type of sponge, much thicker, and
trimmed it much less so that it is now flush against the sides.
I did notice that for the first week the bees had dropped their regular
‘rubbish’ bits inside the internal feeder box so that is a good sign
that they actually have an avenue to do that. Clearly it is a bit cold
for them to go outside.
As a means of enticing the bees back to the entrance/exit tube of the
internal feeder box I laid a small piece of resin on it and noticed this
evening that they were busy chewing away on it.
I am a bit worried that maybe I have mucked up the feed solution but I
did follow your instructions from the video. Maybe it just isn’t cold
enough yet, and the bees aren’t hungry enough for them to be all over
the internal feeder. At least they have found the feeder, taken some of
the pollen from the small dish, and actually have been nosing around the
sponge feeder so that is a good sign.
Time will tell. I’ll keep you informed.
Feeder Success 5/23/19
We have had success with the internal feeder’!! When I came home this
evening I noticed a very large collection of the ‘rubbish’ pods outside
the hive, and it was a lot. It looked like the weather was warm enough
for the boys to go outside and it looks like they had stored their
rubbish for a bit.
I had a look inside the insulation box and there were around 30-40 bees
all walking around on the sponge in the actual feeder so that is a great
sign. There was also a large number (10-20) wandering around the actual
internal feeder box, checking things out, and grabbing the pollen.
I also noticed a continual stream of movement along the feeder tube from
the hive, via the junction to the feeder, and back again so it really
looks like they have gotten used to it. As you suggested it just took a
bit of time.
I am really happy at the moment. This weekend, during daylight hours,
I’ll take some more pics and send them up.
Stingless bees floats 7/18/19
As discussed in a previous email I have just received my new custom-made
spotted gum wood float feeder lids for the feeder box. I had two made
up with a 0.5 mm difference to allow for wood expansion and to test
different edge tolerances. This will hopefully ensure not too many bees
slip down the gap between the edge of the float lid and the inside of
the container, and drown. I have attached a picture of them for your
The past couple of weeks have been particularly cold and we are now
definitely in the coldest part of winter. The heating element is still
working well and is keeping the internal temp of the main hive box at a
regular 18°C. This is also the case on the coldest of days (down to −5°
C). I am now in a regular routine of checking in on the ‘boys’, every
couple of days, to see the level of feed solution in the feeder. All I
do is look in and, if the feed solution is low, I leave the hinged lid
open which immediately results in the temps dropping. The ‘boys’ then
all head for the hive leaving the feeder empty, and I do the refill
through the sponge.
With the arrival of the new float feeder lids I anticipate it will be
easier for me to see the feed solution level as I had the extra holes
drilled into the lid; both for access to the solution by the bees and
for me to see the fluid level. I’ll let you know how the new feeder lid
All in all I am really satisfied that the ‘boys’ are still happy and not
too active, and we have but 6 weeks left of winter. They still go
outside for a look, in the afternoon when the temps are higher, and then
scurry back in as the temps drop.
Stingless bees in Canberra update 8/1/19
The latest update, with a picture, of the wooden bee feeder lid in use.
It has been in the internal feeder for a week and the bees seem to like
it. While there are less bees overall on the feeder lid compared to the
sponge they still seem to be clustered on it whenever I open the lid and
look in to see how they are doing. They are clearly using the feeder
because the level of the feed solution continues to get lower and lower.
I am using the 75.5 mm diameter lid thus far. I did notice the 2 mm
holes drilled in the lid do allow for the feed solution to rise up so
the bees can access it but I was thinking of maybe increasing the
diameter of a select number of the holes on the 75mm diameter lid to 3
mm. I was thinking of doing so to see if the uptake of the liquid, via
the larger holes, allows better access by the bees. I will do a test on
the 75 mm lid this weekend. I am really happy about the performance of
the new wooden lids.
The ‘boys’ remain active enough when I look at the actual hive, via the
clear access panel, and I can’t see any decrease in bee numbers or hive
volume. They continue to work to seal up the mesh cover on the internal
feeder, and as you suggested, it looks like it will be a long job. I
occasionally give the ‘boys’ a resin treat (from your generously
provided stores) which they eagerly relocate into the actual hive. Last
weekend I noticed an event which showed me how active the hive still is.
There were 2-3 European honey bees active around the bee cone in the
afternoon. One of the European honey bees went to enter the hive via
the bee cone and was immediately stopped by a very aggressive pair of
native bees who were obviously on guard duty. As soon as it happened
the European honey bees departed the area and it only last about 30
seconds. It was good to be in the right place at the right time and I
was surprised that I managed to notice it given how quickly it happened.
While there didn’t appear to be any activity in the hive it was clear to
me there were still the guards watching the entrance for any intruders.
Every couple of days the bees head out in the afternoon for a look (when
the temps are around 15-16°C and where there is direct sunlight on the
hive insulation box) and to deposit their rubbish. August is the month
with the most frosts in the morning and some really cold overnight temps
so I am hopeful all will be well by the time we hit September. As soon
as that occurs and the temps increase there will be more opportunity for
the ‘boys’ to get out and about. At this point I’ll look to turn off
the internal heater around early to middle October as I recall the temps
at that time were high enough (above 16°C) for the ‘boys’ to fly all the
Until next time.
A quick update after todays fantastic weather. Today was a lot warmer
than the last week with a top temp of 21.0°C. As a ‘spring’ treat I
gave the ‘boys’ a couple of small pieces of resin and put them on the
top and bottom section of the bee cone. As soon as the temps were warm
enough around 12 the ‘boys’ literally exploded out of the hive and
swarmed all over the resin.
There were heaps of bees out and about today; the most I’ve seen out
since last summer. I also noticed the ‘boys’ coming back with pollen
on their legs; same as last time with a variety of different colours of
pollen from white to dull yellow, to vividly bright yellow.
Temps are only going to increase over the coming week with next Friday
expecting 24°C, so I am getting close to turning the heating element
Regards, Leonard Francis
A quick update. I noted from the first Bee Chronicles (3 Oct 18) that
‘the bees arrived approximately 1030 am by Australia Post courier.’
That means it has now been a complete year since this bee experiment
The temps over the last couple of days have been much warmer and the
boys are well and truly out and about everyday. Today’s high temps are
around 28° C so I have turned the internal heating element off. I’ll
plug the access tubing to the internal feeder tomorrow, remove it and
give it a clean, and then replace it; in readiness for next winter. I
thought I would leave the resin coating that they have placed on the
mess screen as each time I remove it they would just re-coat it anyway.
It won’t stop me having a look inside and refilling the feeder as
required. At least I know the feeder works, and the wooden feeder lids
worked a treat. Well worth the money and effort in having them made.
I noted your comments about the hive weight in the video but I haven’t
removed it since I placed it in the hive insulated box, and would
prefer not to move it unnecessarily. I have attached the latest pic of
the hive and you can see that they have built all the way up to the
vicinity of the plastic plate. It seems that the hive is ‘chock-a-
block’ with content.
In regards the earlier comment about checking/tracking on foraging days
I can clearly see the bees come back with varies shades of what I am
assuming is pollen on their legs (I saw some pink pollen on their legs
today!!). How do I tell if they are carrying nectar? Is there some
tell-tale way of seeing if they have nectar.
As for the comment about bee deaths recorded by day I didn’t really
keep a track of those losses. I did notice most of the bee deaths were
during that really hot week over the December-January period which I
documented in the chronicles. I also noted that I would occasionally
lose about 20-30 bees who were drowned on the lid of the internal
feeder. It seemed that all those losses were replaced on a regular
basis because every week or so there was a steady stream of rubbish and
spent cells being deposited outside the hive. I hope this answers the
Again thanks for all your help. Your support and willingness to let me
have a go at doing this is really appreciated. I will definitely keep
you informed as to the general progress of the hive and I’ll send the
next statistical report in April 2020 regarding the foraging
Regards, Leonard Francis
As discussed, and promised, in an earlier email chain see the below
foraging statistics from the last eight months. The numbers are
calendar days/days observed bees foraging. In order for the day to be
counted I had to specifically see a reasonable number of bees returning
to the hive with pollen/nectar, and not just those that were ‘out-and-
I turned the internal heater on, on 4 April, as the temps were dropping
pretty quickly to around the 17-20 degree range. The ‘boys’ still get
out and about each day that is above 18 degrees.
It reinforces to me that for at least 7-8 months of the year the
temperatures and conditions are at least conducive to the bees getting
out and gathering/foraging for suitable stocks to use during the winter
months. That; combined with the sugared liquid solution during the
winter time, should allow for them to be more than comfortable here in
Canberra in the long-term.
I hope these stats are of use to you, and the native bee community.
September 2019 30/21
October 2019 31/24
November 2019 30/27
December 2019 31/28
January 2020 31/24 (Too many days with smoke from the fires)
February 2020 29/25
March 2020 31/26
April 2020 30/16 (Unusually colder start to autumn)
This was a great journey and I would like to thank Leonard Francis for documenting his work for others to see. I hope in future that more people will try new things with stingless bees in a hope to learn more about these special little creatures. If there is no update written here than the stingless bees are still alive and working hard in Canberra
A lot to analyse in the emails..
I wonder if it would be practical to keep a calendar and mark down the days on which foraging happens..
The concern is that there may to too few days-a-year that they can forage for natural food…. and can we provide artificial equivalents..or is that – can we provide equivalents..
I think that nectar replacement is the most important, as they seem to always have surplus pollen ..
Great idea. I will write to him and ask if this is possible. Data collection is really important with something like this. Thanks for commenting. ??
BTW – I find it interesting.. the comment…
“..and when the temperature is 15-16C and the sun is out..”
My thought is that these bees have acclimated to a degree.. as I do not see my Sydney bees flying even at 18-19C.. and even then – many walk home and need devices to climb back to their hives..
So awesome whats the brand of heater and could you possibly ask what he estimates on deaths per day? I commented on the Ytube earlier
He sends this.
Thanks so much 🙂