This is one of Kevin Stiller’s Hives containing the Stingless Bee species Austroplebeia Australis. The box is designed to split vertically. There’s horizontal stainless steel wires that support the hive structure.
The Brood structure of Australis is a cluster design which is different compared to Tetragonula Carbonaria with a spiral. You can see some empty space inside the hive, Australis don’t take up much volume for a colony so that’s ok. The hive hasn’t been split for two years so i’m hoping my property has a lot of extra resources for the bees and they might perform a little better here.
The bees certainly look similar to the other species but do behave differently…
Australis spend a fair bit of time with construction of the entrance defences.
Australis have a few light markings around the edge of their Thorax. See below – center of photo and up a little, beside the long hairs. (I’ll have to get some better photos)
Below – 18/02/2017- I’ve added a new layer to the hive. The new frame is 200mm x 200mm external, 150mm x 150mm internal which is the same internal dimensions as the existing box so they match up well.
Because Australis take up less volume in a hive I’ve added the extra pieces of timber to the inside of the frame. The volume of the frame is now 1.6L instead of 2.25L
edit: I’ve decided i don’t really like this design with the extra blocks where they are, as it may spread and divide the colony structure out too much. I think next time i’d put those extra blocks of wood in the corners of the frames. That would still give brood support and keep the hive structure all together.
I’ve taped on a clear Perspex top so I can easily monitor the hive and it’s also protected from pests by having all the gaps sealed…
Below – looking through the Perspex…
Below – Australis Queen – right of photo
Update below 15/04/17 – Honey Pots being created in the Top Box. The bees seem to be thriving….
*** This is an on-going project. Check back for updates!