At the start of winter, the weather was getting quite cold in Sydney. This impacted my Australian Native Stingless Bees who have been struggling to collect pollen throughout winter. Bees collect pollen as their main food source.

The lowest it would get at night was about 4-5 degrees celsius. The native stingless bees, Tetragonula Carbonaria (The species that I currently have) only flies out over 18 degrees celsius. So if you get many days where it is  under 18 degrees celsius then the bees will not be active and will not fly out due to the cold weather.

At the advent of spring, the bees started to get very active. They were collecting a lot of pollen and were also active till 5 pm, around sunset. This is  absolutely amazing, because in winter they would just stop working at 3 pm. I could not believe this was happening. 

My Australian Native Stingless Bees are now thriving and are very successful in collecting a lot of pollen for the hive. I have been monitoring the hive, mainly on the weekends and on some days they have been very energetic (apart from few days when it was too cold for them to fly out). I measured the pollen that is coming into the hive because, firstly I would count the bees coming in with pollen per minute (approximately).

After all my calculations I estimate that 2000 tiny balls of pollen (carried by the bees using their pollen baskets where their legs are) came into the hive. This data means that the foragers were very successful on this day.

How to keep your bees happy

You must make your bees happy otherwise the colony would die. To avoid this disaster in winter, you must firstly put your hive in a place where it can get the early morning sun. The native bees need this because in order to warm up from the cold night, they need some sun to also wake up the colony too.

In summer time they don’t need the sun since it is already warm. You must be very careful about this. Your hive also needs protection from the elements, such as the rain, possible hail, very hot temperatures etc.

In order to do this, you will need a shelter (A box with a tarp on the top of the hive, acting like a flat roof to protect the hive from the elements). My nana (maternal grandfather) helped me set up a home made shelter using  a styrofoam box with a tarp over the top.

This is just the basics of beekeeping for Australian Native Stingless Bees.