HOME WHAT'S ON MAIN MENU

STINGLESS BEES (Tetragonula & Austroplebeia)

Aussie Bee > Native Bee Photo Gallery > Stingless Bees

The stingless social native bees in Australia belong to two groups or genera: Tetragonula and Austroplebeia. All the bees are black and about 3 to 4 mm long. However, a close look reveals slight differences in their hair patterns and colour markings. If you are interested in distinguishing the eleven different species of Australian Stingless Bees, take a look at Aussie Bee's Booklet 4.

The Tetragonula bees have bodies that are black or dark brown, but they have dense white fur on the sides of their thorax and their faces. (The Tetragonula bees were previously called Trigona -- why was their name changed?) This excellent action photograph by 'Peter O' shows a Tetragonula carbonaria bee in flight, carrying two huge balls of pollen:

native stingless bee

See Videos of Stingless Bees.
More Photos of Stingless Bees by 'Peter O'.

The Austroplebeia Stingless Bees are also mostly black, though in some species the abdomen colour can range from cream to orange. In addition, most species have narrow cream to yellow markings on the rear edge of the thorax and on the face.

native bees

Above: an Austroplebeia australis Stingless Bee with an orange abdomen. This worker bee also has fine cream markings on the sides and rear edge of the thorax. Many Austroplebeia have just two to four cream spots on the rear edge of the thorax, and a few Austroplebeia have no cream markings on the thorax at all.

native bees

Above: a queen and worker bees of the most brightly coloured Austroplebeia species -- Austroplebeia cincta from Cape York, QLD. The worker bees have beautiful bright yellow markings on the face and on the thorax.


The Tetragonula and Austroplebeia Stingless Bees belong to the family Apidae. They are found in warm areas in northern and eastern Australia. They do not occur in the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia or Tasmania (more details).

Lonni Aylatt captured these wonderful close up images of our native Tetragonula Stingless Bees, hard at work in their resinous nest. These photographs were kindly sent into Aussie Bee by Lonni's father, Keith Bragg:

tetragonula stingless bee

Above: in this photograph you can see the even coating of thick white fur that all Tetragonula carbonaria and Tetragonula hockingsi bees have on the sides of their thorax.

native bee

Above: these bees also have thick white fur on their faces. Lonni's photograph clearly shows this bee's large glossy compound eyes and the strong mandibles (or jaws) which the bee uses to work the resin materials in the nest.


Erica Siegel of Queensland photographed this tiny Tetragonula Stingless Bee collecting pollen from some flowers:

stingless bee by erica siegel

Above: Stingless Bees pack pollen into round balls on their hind legs to carry it back to their nests.

native bees


A Tetragonula carbonaria worker bee (previously called Trigona carbonaria) doing the hive housekeeping -- dragging a dead bee out of the hive. These tiny bees have white fur on their faces and sides. This is another stunning close up photograph contributed by Peter O:

native stingless bees by Peter O

A fascinating photograph by 'Peter O' of a Stingless Bee receiving some rather unwelcome attention from a spider:

stingless bee and spider by Peter O

More Information on Stingless Bees.
Guidebooks on Keeping Stingless Bees.
New Native Bee Photographs.

Related information...

native bee questions

Top Ten Questions about Australian Stingless Bees


native bees in your area

Find out Which Native Bees are in Your Area


Visit Aussie Bee's Facebook page for stories and photos from the world of native bees:
Aussie Bee on Facebook


Learn more about Australian native bees...

Back to top

HOME

Aussie Bee Online
Welcome
New Articles

About Native Bees
What are Native Bees?
Bee Photo Gallery
Bees in Your Area
Common Questions
Rescuing Native Bees
Bees in Houses - Advice
Exotic Bumblebees

Stingless Native Bees
What are Stingless Bees?
Buy Stingless Bees
Keep Stingless Bees
Honey Production
Crop Pollination

Study Native Bees
Field Guide
Information Booklets
Tim Heard's Book
John Klumpp's Book
Aussie Bee Back Issues
Seminars
Links

Support Native Bees
Aussie Bee Shop
Order Form
Who We Are
Donations
Privacy Policy
Free Newsletter
Website Survey

Back to top

...
...