Crop Pollination by Stingless Bees

  • Virginia Meléndez RamírezEmail author
  • Ricardo Ayala
  • Hugo Delfín González


The stingless bees are very diverse in the tropics and subtropics of the world, consisting of nearly 600 species. Their morphological, biological, and behavioral traits make many of them efficient crop pollinators. Currently, field research has documented stingless bees as field crop pollinators in 12 tropical countries worldwide. More than 25 species are known to contribute significantly to pollination in 14 economically important crops. The most common stingless bee species belong to Melipona and/or some of the genus previously including in Trigona genus. Until now studies of stingless bee pollination in enclosed or greenhouse conditions have been conducted in eight countries and focused on ten crops. Fourteen stingless bee species have been used most often in these studies, mostly from the genera Melipona, Nannotrigona, Scaptotrigona, and Trigona. In most of these studies, the evaluated stingless bee species were found to be efficient crop pollinators both in field crops and greenhouses. The use of local native stingless bees as pollinators is promising since in some instances they are more efficient than honeybees; it avoids disease propagation between introduced and native species and reduces the risk of the establishment of exotic species and the displacement of native ones. It is clear that investigation is needed for conservation and management of stingless bees and the importance of habitat management to preserve local stingless bee populations.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginia Meléndez Ramírez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ricardo Ayala
    • 2
  • Hugo Delfín González
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Zoología, Campus de Ciencias Biológicas y AgropecuariasUniversidad Autónoma de YucatánMéridaMexico
  2. 2.Estación de Biología Chamela, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)San PatricioMexico

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