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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo - Brazil
    Posts
    20

    Default Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Hello everybody,

    I´m starting to try for the second time to keep stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment. The first time things went well for some time but during winter the number of bees decreased way too much (there are a number of reasons that could have caused this) and when spring arrived the few workers got "infantilized" by queen's hormones and the colony perished.

    This time I´ll try to avoid all possible causes of troubles, starting by using a box build by an experienced and carefull meliponist that makes his own hives. The first 3 images show the box as received from the builder. This model is a scaled down version of the model developed by INPA (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia - National Amazon Research Institute), that was created to make it easier to collect the honey and divide the colony when desired. It was originally aimed to people rearing amazonic species like the "Tiúba" (Melipona Compressipes), "Boca-de-Renda" (Melipona Seminigra) and "Tubiba" (Scaptotrigona Tubiba) among others, and usually has bigger dimensions to better accommodate their large colonies containing thousands of bees. In my case, I intend to keep the species "Mandaçaia" (Melipona Quadrifasciata), whose colonies never grow bigger than a few hundreds of individuals, so the box is considerably smaller with about 17x17x25 cm (inner dimensions).

    Caixa-Nova_01.jpg

    Caixa-Nova_02.jpg

    Caixa-Nova_03.jpg


    I then applied a series of modifications to improve both the ease of manipulation of the box and its appearance (as it will be installed in the balcony adjacent to the living room of my apartment). First, I build a ceiling to isolate the top of the box from heat or cold, and a detachable door, so the entrance build by the bees themselves (a characteristic behavior in brazilian stingless bees) does not need to be destroyed every time we want to lock the bees inside. Second, I introduced recesses and wooden sticks on all sides of each box section, improving the fitting between them to prevent any displacement when the box is moved and also the sealing against air currents and light. I also added a false base in the lower box section so it better adapt to the support I have already installed installed in my balcony wall:

    Caixa-Nova_04.jpg

    Caixa-Nova_06.jpg


    After that I did some decoration work, and will be showing the results in the next post.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo - Brazil
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Here are the details I created to improve the external appearance of the box, in order to turn it in a decoration object (so my wife do not bother having it installed in a place where visitors can see it), and the assembled decorated box assembled:

    Caixa-Nova_08.jpg

    Caixa-Nova_11.jpg

    Caixa-Nova_09.jpg


    And last but not least, the box was painted. I tried to make it look like an old farm house, but I´m not sure I succeeded in this because I know very few houses of this kind:

    Caixa-Nova_12.jpg

    Caixa-Nova_13.jpg

    After finishing the box transformation I sent it back to the guy who sold me it, so he could install the colony. In the next post I´ll tell what happened when I went to get it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Landing, NJ, USA
    Posts
    835

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Nice- hope the bees agree, better yet I hope the bees and your wife agree.
    Bill

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Mogollon Rim, Arizona 85933
    Posts
    680

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    That's a nice hive, I go to Iquitos Peru 2-3x a year for my studies in Vegetalismo/Curendero work. I stay at my friends home in Jenaro Herrera on the Amazon/Ucayali River at my older brothers Ayahuasca camp where the Amazon/Ucayali River and Aucayacu river join together. Pink dolphins guard the Aucayacu.
    Back in June for first time I went out with Ruber to help find the little sting less bees when they gathered the honey for the ceremony used in the medicine. Next year during the dry season I'll get pics. It's to wet in January when I go back.
    It's the best honey in the world, and makes great medicine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo - Brazil
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Quote Originally Posted by whiskers View Post
    Nice- hope the bees agree, better yet I hope the bees and your wife agree.
    Bill
    My wife already did . Now let´s see about the bees.
    Last edited by Leandrogcard; 10-23-2016 at 04:19 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    NT Australia
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Very nice hive its very different from the hives I build I've only made 1 split hive for my bees but my species don't seem to do as in them.

    Most my hives are boxes with wire on the bottom which at first was put there as a false floor to stop bees drowning from broken honey pots during transfers, but the bees would use the wire to safely hold their brood which they would use instead of the intended brace for their brood.

    I also use viewing plastic sheets that go under the roof so I can safely check my bees without opening the hive to pests, most my hives have a large hole in the back of the hive which is used for natural splitting.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo - Brazil
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Hi Barlon,

    The species I intend to keep in this box is as big as the common honey-bee, and there's no risk for them to drown in spilled honey. Also, as they use to build a well developed involucrum around the nest (even in the bottom side), the wires could represent a problem more than a help to them.

    Nevertheless, there are other smaller bee species people use to keep in Brazil and some of them do not build a closed involucrum either, so it is possible this wire strategy can also be used here in some cases. Could you upload a picture showing the box with the wire when possible?

    About the plastic sheets, it is also common practice in Brazil. I have them in my box, not only a full sheet in between the top segment and the roof but also perforated sheets between al segments, just to avoid the bees to glue them together with propolis.

    But besides the entrance for the bees, the boxes used here usually do not include any other opening. Maybe they should.
    Last edited by Leandrogcard; 10-24-2016 at 09:14 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    NT Australia
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Hey Leandrogcard

    I was just sharing as its interesting to see the differences in designs and I'll take some pictures on my next check up.

    I'm familiar with the large stingless bees and their nests seem similar to the stingless bees in Queensland.

    I'm going to look into your bees and their nesting habits and I'll let you know if the method I use would work or not.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo - Brazil
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Hi Barlon,

    What is the bigger stingless bees species found in Queensland? I would like to study a little about them, to se how close they are to our bees in Brazil.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo - Brazil
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Hi Barlon,

    What is the bigger stingless bees species found in Queensland? I would like to study a little about them, to se how close they are to our bees in Brazil.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    NT Australia
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Quote Originally Posted by Leandrogcard View Post
    Hi Barlon,

    What is the bigger stingless bees species found in Queensland? I would like to study a little about them, to se how close they are to our bees in Brazil.
    Hey Leandrogcard

    Sorry for the confusion the bees are not big but their nest structures look alike the broods have involucrum all around them.

    The species are called Tetragonula carbonaria and their commonly kept in split hives like yours.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo - Brazil
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Well,

    It's been a week since I got my decorated box back. According to the meliponist that sold me them they are doing well, seems to be well adapted to the box and were thriving with no trouble in his backyard. I brought them in a 2 hours car trip and installed the box in my balcony wall as planned, but left the entrance closed by the plastic net installed for transportation until after sunset.

    By 08:00 next day I woke up and found the bees already going out and back in, many times carrying small pellets of trash from inside the box and taking them away. I took the pictures and recorded the small movie below:

    Caixa-Nova_14.jpg
    Box instaled in place at the balcony.

    Caixa-Nova_16.jpg
    Entrance showing the geopropolis deposited by the bees (which is a typical behavior of the species)

    Caixa-Nova_17.jpg
    Small pellets of geopropolis deposited over the box. These bees usually to do this to mark their colonies when there are other colonies of the same species around. Probably these pellets have a colony specific smell.

    https://youtu.be/eF8knyAsecM
    View of the upper segment of the box with the roof taken away. A few honey pots transferred from the original box by the meliponist are visible, as well as some bees. A pot for artificial food is also visible, with some wood chips inside to give the bees a substrate to catch if they fall into the liquid, preventing them from drowning.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    NT Australia
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Rearing brazilian stingless bees on the balcony of my apartment

    Hi Leandrogcard

    It's good to see your bees are doing well, hopefully they'll be alright in their new location keep me updated on how their doing whenever you have the time.

    Been fairly busy with my hives lately so I've only just had the chance to see your post, but I'm back and hopefully I can share more pictures of my bees as well.

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