Domestication of Meliponinae in log hive or simple box has often been used in Africa. However, colonyloss in these two hive types due to pest infestation after honey harvesting still occurs. We hypothesized that the two hive types were the probable causes for the infestations.We designed and assessed the hive acceptance andpostharvest colony losses of three Afrotropical Meliponinae namely Plebeina hildebrandti, Meliponula bocandei and two M. ferruginea morpho-speciesin a vertical compartmented hive (called the icipe-4M), as an alternative. We observed that P. hildebrandti had the lowest acceptance rate compared to the other species. However, all the bee species occupied the different hive compartments (brood and honey chamber) of the hive. Postharvest loss was lower in M. bocandei and the reddish brown M. ferrugineamorpho-species. Average honey yieldand honey composition were also evaluatedper species. Annually, M. bocandei produced more honey followed by M. ferruginea morpho-speciesandP. hildebrandti. Honey composition also varied among the species.We recommend that rural communities switch to using the icipe-4M hive to domesticate these stingless bee species, to decrease the losses of brood to pests, and increase the yields of harvested honey in domestication.
Prof. Dr. Bilal BİLGİN