Stingless Bees in California

Moon Rabbit(Sunset24 CA)June 14, 2005

I know very little about bees, but have been becoming interested in them. It would be nice to watch them pollinate the flowers in the garden, and fun to collect a little honey once or twice a year. I'd prefer to use stingless bees, even though the few bees I see in the garden don't bother me. I just figure that by keeping a colony, one will have a much higher concentration in the immediate area and that increases the chances of stings.

Are there any stingless bees native to California, the Southwestern US, or even North America? If there are no natives, are there cons to introducing non-natives to Southern California?

Would they be a nuisance to neighbors? There are two dogs next door on one side and children on the other, and we wouldn't want to introduce something that would harm them. It's my understanding that they can still defend themselves by biting with their mandibles.

Would they harm the local bees?

So many questions... Thanks in advance for any feedback.


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amymcg(z5 MA)


Here is what I understand about stingless bees. Most varieties won't hesitate to bite you. You could try mason bees, they are solitary though, not a hive. You purchase tubes that hatch out. They are good pollinators.

Honeybees are gentle. In fact, just the other day I spent about 2 hours using the mower and weed eater right outside their hive. My dog barrels around the hive all day long and has never been stung either.

You won't have to worry about the neighbors. The bees are just there doing their thing. The only "bees" you would have to worry about is a hive of nasty bald faced hornets or yellow jackets.

You might still be able to find Mason bees on eBay, though it is late in the year to be getting them started.

Why not go to your local beekeepers association meeting? You will probably learn quite a bit about the bees and they will be able to quell any fears or concerns you might have about honeybees.

As far as my opinion, I would skip the stingless bees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Beemaster

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 7:09AM
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Moon Rabbit(Sunset24 CA)


Thanks for the feedback and the link. That link has quite alot of useful info about beekeeping. And it's nice to hear from your experience that the bees won't attack you just for making a little hubbub around their hive or walking to close to it.

Still much to learn, maybe I will drop in to the local beekeepers anonymous as you suggest. I hear it's an addictive hobby.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 10:48PM
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amymcg(z5 MA)

Yes Quite addictive - all beekeepers are addicts :-)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 7:51AM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

I resemble that remark!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 8:39AM
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I would highly recommend finding and taking care of Stingless bees. I have had three hives for about 5 years here in Thailand, The came and nested in an old speaker i left out on my porch and then in a pile of old plastic tarps i left near the same vacinity. I went to a workshop on taking care of them and learned a bunch about them, The variety we have he likes to make nests in any thing, old hand bags, boxes speakers, they build very quickly and they dontsting and NOR do they bite. Well they can but dont tend to, they will stick in your hair if you collect hoeny so wear a white hat, Bee keeping is good, they wll fly towards black so wear white, Your eyes ears mouth and nse are good places they may try to enter if you put you face in the hive and open the lid to collect honey so a white hat saves bees lives, for if they do bite, it doesnt leave a mark, Now ants bites and they hurt but these guys dont hurt at all, No One dies from Stingless bees, but hundreds die each year from the typical Honey bee, Just upset the queen and you can get swarmed, you have to waer lots of gear and have smokers. With stingless bees we use a water mister to calm them and help them slide off your skin, wear a rain coat to prevent them from sticking to your clothes, when they bite the clothes they dont let go so if you brush them off little heads are left behind and the body gets swept away. The are great local bees for pollination and their honey has been used for thousands of years as medicine by the Mayans. I am a former US PCV who has lived in Thailand for 10 years and i hope to have them in the USA when i return, If you have a green house they are the most perfect pollintors, Where as honey bees die in 3 month as they are too restricted these little bees love it and if they have enough flowers will stay all year round. I am sure the climate in California would be perfect, I hear of some varieties in Brazil that tolerate freezing temps. and. if you let them live in you house and have an access tube to the outside they can live a long time. After about 1 year you can split the hive into two and collect about 750ml of Honey and its a delicious type, more watery then honey bees and should be refirigerated or dehydrated a little to reduce the water to 21% from about 26%, this will prevent fermentation and then can keep a long time in the cabinet.
If you find anything about stingless bes please let me know, I am looking and excited to find them.. THey wont affect honey bees at all and they are currently being imported to Japan as greenhouse pollinators, Japan a very strict country has given the ok so i think that they would be fine in the USA, they probably are strong too, and resist many of the diesease the honey bees succumb to. We had honey bees and they all died from a variety of things. But these little guys are just neat to have as a pet and dont sting and they bite is not anything like so many blogs describe it, Well at least the 30 varieties we have in Thailand and i think its similar world wide, Here i have Trigona Pagdeni and hope to get the variety tht live in the logs, they are more tollerante to cooler temps, as they live in thick logs, I think in texas many varieties re the Underground type, They live down deep because the temp is easy to control. But they are hard to convince to live in a hive, the little guys i have love little wooden boxes and if you put them in the right location they will live for years. Just email and ask me anything, Visit my rockshop for more info or email my on ebay at Thairockshop.
Thanks and good luck finding them, I want to, I see your post is from 7-8 years ago, did you get honey bees?? How was it?? Any news of Stingless, I called the State apiarist in Virginia and he never heard of stingless bes and said i was mistaken. Well, what does he know, He is the state apiarist, he should know, Only a few varieties of honey bees but over 500-600 varieties of stingless bees. So i think if you look in the southern USA you are bound to find someone.

Here is a link that might be useful: ThaiRockshop

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:00AM
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