Join our citizen science project and help us to observe stingless bees and collect data on how these bee colonies reproduce.

Watch our video

Dr Tobias Smith explains the project (YouTube, 4m:50s).

 

What are stingless bees?

There are 11 stingless bee species found in Australia. Nine of these are found in Queensland.

Australian stingless bees:

  • are similar to European honey bees because they both nest in large, eusocial colonies
  • make and store honey like European honey bees
  • live in colonies with a queen, her worker daughters and some male drones
  • nest in cavities: in the wild, this can be tree hollows or
  • in urban areas this can be in wall cavities, underground irrigation boxes or artificial cavities.

We know very little about the science of Australian stingless bees and how their colonies reproduce.

We need your help to observe stingless bee colonies in your backyard.

How to join our project

School groups and the general public (adults) can join.

Register your beehive

Once you're ready to take part:

  • read our participant information sheet (PDF, 119.8 KB) to learn how we'll use the data you provide 
  • complete our consent form (PDF, 94.8 KB)
  • complete our online form to register your beehive. You'll need to:
    • upload your completed consent form
    • tell us your hive's location
    • tell us your colony's type (is it a hive box or a natural hive?)
    • tell us your bee species (if you know it)
    • upload a photo of your hive's entrance
    • provide your contact information.
We'll confirm your registration and post you a sticker with:
  • your unique hive identifier and
  • a QR code for the data collection form.

Watch our video

Dr Tobias Smith explains how to get started (YouTube, 1m:54s).

What types of bee behaviours should I look for?

Our citizen scientists need to observe their beehives regularly and look for key bee behaviours.  

We're looking for signs that your stingless bee colony may be reproducing and establishing a new daughter colony. This only happens when a colony is strong, well-established and the environmental conditions are right.

Select (+) to see an image of these bee behaviours and discover what the bees are doing.

How to observe and collect beehive data

When you're signed up to our citizen science project, you'll need to:

  • observe your hive's entrance for three minutes on sunny days
  • observe your hive regularly, ideally once a week
  • complete our data collection form with your observations.

Watch our video

Dr Tobias Smith takes you through how to collect your data (YouTube, 2m:57s).

Tell us about your data

When you've collected your data, tell us about it. You can:

  • scan the QR code on your hive sticker to access the UQ data collection form on your mobile or
  • click the button below to access the UQ data collection form and submit your data now.

 Enter your data  

When you complete the form, you'll need to enter:

  • your unique hive identifier
  • the date and time 
  • the number of bees that you've observed returning to the hive (in three minutes)
  • if you've observed the bees leaving with propolis on their back legs
  • if you've observed any swarming behaviour
  • if you've observed any dead bees in pairs
  • any general observations.

Our research project results

This project is funded by a Queensland Government Engaging Science Grant.

  • We'll email you to let you know what we've discovered about Australian stingless bee colonies with your help.
  • We'll publish our research results in peer-reviewed journals and present our findings at conferences. 

Meet the researchers