Nest and colony Characteristics of log-hived Melipona Beecheii (Apidae: Meliponinae)
J W van Veen; H G Arce Arce
The log hives of 19 colonies of the stingless bee Melipona beecheii were opened and adult and brood populations, stored nectar and pollen, and other nest characteristics were recorded. Adult populations were found to be between 500 and 2500. The presence of queen pupae in the brood and the size of the brood nest were found to be positively correlated. Adult gynes and males were seldom observed. Brood populations were generally found to be two to four times the number of adult bees. Honey stores were often smaller than pollen stores, and only few colonies contained more than 1 litre. The volume of the cavity of the hives was between 5 litres and 16 litres. Blackened and useless pollen was found in several nests, usually in the bigger ones. New for Central American species of Melipona is the description of radiating entrance structures. The ultimate function of several nest structures is discussed in relation to the typical stingless bee biology and ecology. Recommendations for hive design are made.