The moça branca stingless bee is known by the Latin name of Frieseomelitta doederleini. In scientific terms, native bees are known as meliponids. They belong to the order Hymenoptera and the subfamily Meliponinae. In scientific terms, native bees are known as meliponids. They are also known as native social bees and are stingless, as their sting has atrophied. They are also known as indigenous bees. They make their nests in tree trunks, cracks in rocks or in the ground, or hanging from branches. The honeycomb is laid horizontally and the bees deposit pollen mixed with honey. The males are expelled from the colony after they impregnate the queen.
According to field studies and evidence, the moça branca bee is not the most commonly kept species in local beekeeping. However, one characteristic of this species is that it accumulates large quantities of resin and pollen, providing an interesting alternative for propolis production and in the use of pollination programs for certain crops. The bee produces a clear, delicately perfumed honey that is highly prized but produced in small quantities.
Around 193 species of bees, belonging to 79 genera, have been recorded in the Caatinga. The Brazilian Caatinga, which covers approximately 11% of the country, is found in the states of Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Sergipe, Alagoas, Bahia, south and east Piauí and northern Minas Gerais. The Caatinga is semi-arid, flat and rocky, though relatively fertile. The biome is rich in genetic resources, given its high level of biodiversity. Some Caatinga plants, such as cacti, provide water while others have their roots practically on the surface of the ground to maximize rainwater absorption.
Indiscriminate tree felling, affecting tress such as the imburana, catingueira, angico and baraúna, which native bees use as nesting sites, threatens the survival of this species. Also a factor is the lack of trees with blossom to sustain the bees in the dry season, such as the angico, aroeira, cashew tree, Brazil plum, carnauba palm and juazeiro.
According to records, in addition to Bahia, the moça branca bee is also found in the states of Ceará, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí and Rio Grande do Norte. Rational beekeeping of the moça branca has been identified in the region of Piemonte da Diamantina, where young people from the municipalities of Capim Grosso, Várzea da Roça and Quixabeira were interviewed.
Information about this is lacking, particularly due to the major impact that drought has had on the Caatinga biome in recent years. However, even today in the semi-arid regions of Brazil, stingless bees are kept on an artisanal basis by farmers, in management systems based on popular knowledge and local traditions. The bees are kept in beehives, clay pots and rustic wooden hives. The honey is mainly for family consumption or used for medicinal purposes.
In a good blooming season the moça branca bee can produce one liter of honey per year. Family consumption. The native bees of Brazil are facing the following threats: deforestation and forest burning: the bees live in hollows in trees, which are being destroyed by deforestation; honey extractivism: "meleiros" harvest the honey, in the natural habitat, and then leave the hives on the ground, which are later destroyed by ants; insecticides and pesticides; attacks by spiders, ants, birds, reptiles, toads, wasps, moths and even by larger bees, among many other predators. Climate change, causing prolonged dry spells, has also led to a decline of the species, particularly in recent years in the semi-arid regions of Brasil.Back to the archive >