Rescue of Stingless bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini) nests: an important form of mitigating impacts caused by deforestation

Luciano Costa, Rafael Franco, Leandro Guimarães, Ayrton Vollet Neto, Filipi Silva, Guaraci Duran Cordeiro


As stingless bees are important pollinators of wild and cultivated plants, their preservation is of vital importance to sustain the global ecosystem and to safeguard human food resources. The construction of large dams for the production of energy involves the removal of wide extents of riparian vegetation, where many species of bees, especially Meliponini, build their nests. The rescue of bee colonies is essential, not only in the conservation of pollinators, but also in the use of these colonies in meliponiculture and biological research. The aim of this work was to describe the procedures used in the rescue of stingless bee colonies at the time of deforestation, prior to initiating construction of a large dam in the Madeira River (Amazon Basin, Brazil). With simple equipment and widely known methods of meliponiculture 287 stingless bee nests were rescued, of which 15.7% were reallocated and 26.5% perished. The remaining 57.8% recovered well and were donated to local stingless beekeepers. The rescue of Meliponini nests during deforestation, besides resulting in the conservation of numerous colonies of various species, also contributes to the generation of environmental and social benefits.


Fauna rescue; Pollinators; Dam; Amazon Basin; Meliponiculture

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