Animal Species:Stingless Bee

The Stingless Bee is the only truly social bee found in the Sydney area.

Stingless Bee Tetragonula carbonaria

Andrew Donnelly © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Stingless Bee

Alternative Name/s

Sweat Bees; Sugarbag Bees

Identification

Trigona are small, dark bees which form colonies in tree hollows and other cavities. They are one of the few species of native bees that form large social nests.

Size range

4-5 mm

Distribution

The Stingless Bee is found in coastal areas from Queensland to southern New South Wales.

Habitat

The Stingless Bee lives in urban and rural areas, forests and woodlands, and heath.

 

Feeding and Diet

The Stingless Bee feeds on pollen and nectar.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The Stingless Bee's nest is usually made in the trunks of large trees and can contain several thousand bees. Constructed from a waxy substance secreted by workers and resin collected from trees, the nest has a spiral-shaped honeycomb centre.

Life cycle

The Stingless Bee stores pollen and nectar in pot-like structures near the outer edge of the nest. The queen lays a single egg into brood cells stocked with honey and pollen, and a worker bee quickly seals the cell. Hive members collect nectar and pollen from a number of different flowers. They can lead each other to good food sources using a chemical scent trail.

Economic/social impacts

Trigona produce a thin honey, which can be used as bush tucker. The cultivation of Trigona in artificial nests is being developed for more commercial uses.

Danger to humans and first aid

Trigona species are stingless and so are harmless to humans.

Classification

Species:
carbonaria
Genus:
Trigona
Subfamily:
Apinae
Family:
Apidae
Superfamily:
Apoidea
Suborder:
Apocrita
Order:
Hymenoptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags bees, insects, arthropods, invertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney,