Effect of lodging type on the internal temperature and humidity of colonies of Meliponacolimana (Hymenoptera: Meliponini) from a Mexican temperate zone
José Octavio Macías-Macías, José Javier G. Quezada-Euán and José Maria Tapia González
Stingless bees are mainly tropical insects and only a few species live in temperate climates. Meliponacolimana is a stingless bee endemic to temperate areas of western Mexico, where there is much interest in exploiting it for honey production and crop pollination. It is not known, however, if colonies of this species would adapt to hives necessary for commercial exploitation. Twenty four colonies were transferred to trunks and wooden boxes having walls with one of two thicknesses (2.5 and 10.0 cm). The internal and ambient temperature and humidity were monitored for three months during winter, at the end of which, the brood cell numbers, number of adults, and nest weights were assessed. There were differences in temperature (F1 = 69.32; F2 = 1769.33; DF = 3, 56; P < 0.05) andhumidity (F1 = 397.15; F2 = 1028.11; DF = 3, 56; P < 0.05) between environmental data and internal data of nests during day1 and night2, respectively. The internal temperature was statistically similar during the day in all three lodgings, but at night the nests in thick wooden boxes had higher temperatures compared with the other two. There was a decrease in the development of the nests and bee populations in all three lodgings, and a lowest development occurred in thin-walled boxes, probably due to thickness reduction in the lodging walls. This bee species appears capable of maintaining control of the internal environment and this ability is enhanced by using greater thickness of the lodging walls as in this study. The use of boxes with thick walls is recommended for better nest development.