Native Stingless Bees – RIG News#17 – Feb 2012
Story by Chris Fuller, from Kin Kin Native Bees
Native Stingless Bees – good for the environment and enterprise
Australian native stingless bees not only produce delicious sugarbag honey but are also very good pollinators of native plants and shrubs as well as a growing list of horticultural fruit and nut tree crops. Many growers of macadamia in Queensland and New South Wales are now using native bees to help pollinate their crops. They have also become very popular with backyard fruit and vegetable growers and market gardeners.
Specialized stingless bee boxes have been developed which allow for hive duplication through splitting as well as sustainable sugarbag honey production and harvesting without damaging the bees. Sugarbag honey is very sought after and commands a very good price. It is currently being researched for it’s medicinal qualities. There are at least four different species of native stingless bees found in the Northern Territory and north Western Australia. These include Trigona clyperis, Trigona sapiens and Austroplebeia symei, but the most common and best for potential commercial honey production is Trigona hockingsi (pictured below with full pollen sacks on it’s legs).
At Kin Kin Native Bees we have been rescuing hives of Trigona hockingsi and Trigona carbonaria (another common species here on the Sunshine Coast) that are in danger of being lost through land development and agricultural clearing for the last 15 years.
If you would like more information about keeping stingless bees, or to discuss the possibilities of starting a small commercial enterprise using native sugarbag bees, contact us through our website at www.nativebees.com.au
Chris Fuller is from Kin Kin Bees on the Sunshine Coast. He got in touch with RIG when he read on the RIG website about a WA community that was looking for help to set up native bee hives for honey production.
Many thanks Chris!
Pictured: Trigona hockingsi bee – that Chris says is the most common and best for potential commercial production. Specialised stingless bee boxes available from Kin Kin Native Bees.
Story from RIG News# 17 – February 2012