Individual study: Faster brood growth in traditional log hives than in modern box hives, in colonies of the stingless bee Melipona beecheii; experiments at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
Quezada-Euan J.J.G. & González-Acereto J. (1994) A preliminary study on the development of colonies of Melipona beecheii in traditional and rational hives. Journal of Apicultural Research, 33, 167-170
Stingless bees (family Meliponinae) are threatened by deforestation in South America and encouraging stingless beekeeping is one strategy to conserve them. Traditionally, stingless bees are kept in hollow logs, which allow little colony management and make honey-harvesting messy. This study compared the development of colonies of the stingless bee Melipona beecheii kept in traditional log hives and in two types of box hive, at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico.
17 colonies of M. beecheii were collected from different parts of the state of Yucatán – either feral (naturalised) colonies or managed colonies in traditional logs. These were transferred (dates not given) to one of three types of hive: a traditional hollow log (control), a ‘Nogueira-Neto’ box hive or a hive based on the design of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazonia. The internal volumes of these hives were 10.06 litres, 14.30 l and 14.52 l respectively. The traditional log hives had 4 cm thick walls; the box hives had 2 cm thick walls.
The amount of brood comb developed in three months was significantly greater in the traditional log hives (average 848 cm3) than in the two box hives (average 414-544 cm3). The number of sealed food pots built by the bees did not differ between the hive types (average 15.93-17.86 pots).