Native Stingless Bees

Elke breeds and supplies native stingless bees in Sydney as one of the ways she is able to contribute to Australia’s natural food and bio security.

Native bees are also fascinating to observe and a very rewarding addition to your garden.

Elke Native Stingless Bees in hives, are bred in Sydney, for sale in coastal areas of  Sydney only. Delivery in Spring time (Oct-Dec). Bookings open from March 2022

Native Stingless Bees in hives are delivered in Spring (October through to December). Elke takes limited bookings with deposit from March for the upcoming season.

Due to seasonal variations, Elke is currently not taking any further bookings. Please check back next season for any updates to bookings which will be posted here. This information is current at May 2022.

Elke provides a limited number of hand made hives of Native stingless bees for purchase for locating in coastal parts of Sydney each spring.

The native stingless bees are called Tetragonula carbonaria and are native to the Sydney Basin (and are also found in coastal areas of NSW and Qld).   Elke’s native bees are acclimatised to the Sydney coastal climatic seasons as the bees are bred  here in Sydney. 

Stingless bees are not suited to the western or elevated areas of  the Sydney Basin due to temperature extremes being too great for Tetragonula to survive. Even in more coastal locations in Sydney, the siting of the hive is very important to ensure good temperature regulation.  

The bees make a spiral shaped nest for their brood and store their sugarbag honey on the outside.

Native stingless bees

(Tetragonula carbonaria) native stingless bees are endemic to the Sydney Basin (as well as to coastal parts of Qld and NSW). The native hives can be put in your garden, community space, school, child care centre, nursing home or other landscape space (including balconies or verandahs).

What is the cost and what is included when I buy a native stingless bee hive from Elke?

Bookings open from March 2022.

Due to seasonal variations, Elke is currently not taking any further bookings. Please check back next season for any updates to bookings which will be posted here.

  1. Delivery is included. (Elke only supplies within Sydney in coastal locations only, and only in springtime – due to Sydney’s season and the bees’ breeding cycle).  
  2. A beautifully designed handmade, sanded and hand finished timber hive with native stingless bees  (Tetragonula carbonaria) colony established inside the hive. 
  3. Included is an information pack on how to correctly locate and install your hive in your garden/outdoor space.  
  4. Also included is information on how to look after your native stingless bees and hive. 
  5. The total cost of a hive of native stingless bees (including delivery) is $770 including gst.  If you’d like to book, please email Elke from 1 March 2022 with your name, delivery address, phone and contact details and Elke will send you a deposit invoice. Once the deposit is paid, Elke will confirm via email that you will receive your hive for the upcoming spring season.   The deposit amount is $110 including gst. (The remainder will be due in September). Delivery Oct – Dec 2022.
  6. Here is a link to learning a bit more about what is involved in keeping native stingless bees in Sydney and to find out if it is right for you and your situation.  
  7. Here is a link to the information pack, FAQ’s, and How to install and look after your native stingless bees.

Native Bee Clips and Media:

Click here for a list of useful links about native stingless bees, native solitary bees and pollinator plans for bees in Sydney .

Here is a 12 minute video of me showing and explaining the different parts of a Native Stingless Bee Hive (thanks care of: the Randwick Sustainability Hub)

Why are native bees important?

  • Pollination,
  • To promote ecosystem diversity and balance,
  • To replace and preserve this social insect species. (Native stingless bees natural habitats are hollows in trees and logs which have largely been removed in urban situations.)
  • The bees and the products they produce have potential importance in medical applications such as wound treatment (see this intersting research by Karina Hamilton, USC)

We are learning that establishing plants (bee food) is increasingly the most important action you can take in helping out our native pollinators. Yes, more important than buying a native stingless bee hive!  Here are some great flowering plants to start growing if you are in Sydney. Also, click here for more plant suggestions.

Plants which native bees pollinate include macadamias, strawberries, tomatoes, blueberries, mango, watermelon, daisies, and many of the flowering Australian native plants like Westringia, Scaevola, Eucalyptus, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, Angophora and many others native and exotic flowering plants.

Native stingless bees also pollinate edible fruits, herbs and vegetables such including: salvia, parsley, sage, coriander, nasturtium, rocket flowers, tarragon, grape, brassica family plants like kale,  basil, palm flowers, banana flowers, water lilies, passion fruit, Camellia sasanqua, nandina, crepe myrtle, crocus and many more.

Australian native flowering trees and plants have developed their flower shape to attract native bees and pollinators. Native bees and the resins they produce are likely to provide as yet untapped medical and health benefits.

Tetragonula carbonaria (native stingless bees) are only about 4 mm long and are mostly black with iridescent wings.  The tetragonula carbonaria are the only naturally occurring social Australian native stingless bee species found in the Sydney basin.

Click here for a short 20 second videos of the native bees at work flying in and out of their hive.

What do native bees look like?

Have a look at this short clip of our Native Stingless Bees at Barangaroo.

What steps are involved and what amount of maintenance do native bees require?

Climate regulation and the initial location of your beehive is important in Sydney. The location is to be fixed (not moved once installed) as the bees have a very accurate geo-locating sense.  The bees need to receive a minimum of 4 hours of direct morning sun all year around (especially important in winter). The hive needs afternoon summer shade and direct winter sun in the morning in order to keep a regulated internal temperature (and not melt down in summer). Install the hive off the ground, to keep it dry, for air flow, and to reduce moisture and ants.

Click here for more information on what is involved in keeping native bees . They are mostly low maintenance once established (but not ‘no maintenance’).  Keep cobwebs away from the hive entry as well as regulate the hive from extreme temperatures and keep the hive dry where possible.  Note: the location you put your bees in is a fixed location (if you move the hive, the bees wont be able find their home). For information on predators (see the information sheets – link above).

Questions about your native stingless bees.

If you already have native bees and are looking to ‘troubleshoot’ something strange you’ve noticed or would like further tips on looking after your hive to give it/your bees the best chance. Click here.  

If you don’t have your native stingless bee hive yet, and would like tips on how to set up your hive/work out if your place is suitable in terms of climate and location and other tips to give your bees a good chance, Click here for more information on what is involved in keeping native bees .

Native Stingless Bees as a unique gift

Elke native stingless bee hives are delivered between October to December – due to the breeding cycles and climate of Sydney. Elke’s hives have become a unique gift for garden and nature enthusiasts (but please make sure the lucky recipient of your gift knows what is involved, as it is a small responsibility and a living insect colony).

Watching your native bees come and go from your hive is wonderfully therapeutic and fascinating.

Owning native bees is also an important contribution you can make to ecosystem security and re-establishing urban ecology, however so is planting pollinator food (click here for Sydney suitable pollinator plants you can establish in your garden/verge). Contact Elke if you would like further information or would like to order and buy your native hive.
Mobile: 0410 456 404.

More about Aussie Bees and Native Stingless Bees in Australia

There are over 1700 different species of native bees in Australia (most of these are solitary bees, only 10 species are social like Tetragonula) and only one type of Tetragonula species is found in the Sydney area – that is Tetragonula carbonaria.

To find out more about native bees, visit Dr Anne Dollin’s ‘Aussie Bee and Australian Native Bee Research‘ website with a wealth of knowledge on the fascinating world of native bees.

Our contribution back – Bee Research

We are currently conducting research and scientific analysis of native stingless bee pollen, honey, propolis, resins and floral resource data to find out more about Australia’s unique native social stingless bees.    Native bees and the resins they produce are likely to provide as yet untapped medical and health benefits. We hope to be able to report back to you once this research is completed with useful information about your native bees.

Native Stingless Bee Nest.

The photo above shows the inside nest of the native bees, Tetragonula carbonaria. The brood (eggs) are on the left and the honey stores (sugarbag honey) is stored in pots (right of photo).  Pollen stores are also seen on the right.  For a sense of scale, the Tetragonula bees are about 3 to 4mm long.

It is always exciting for primary school (and high school) students to welcome their native stingless bees into their school kitchen gardens.  Sometimes there is a welcoming ceremony! Often the students get an opportunity to research and set up the location of the hive.

I look forward to hearing from you with any questions you have. From Elke Haege – Native Stingless Bees Sydney.