Insect of the Month (November): Mopane bee, Plebeina hildebrandti (stingless bee)
Colony collapse disorder in honeybees is a major concern, and alternative pollinators are of great interest. Stingless bees are highly efficient pollinators and their honey is in great demand because of its cultural and medicinal properties. icipe is at the forefront studying African stingless bees. Plebeina hildebrandti is among the three species of stingless bees in Africa building nests underground in grasslands. Often, pastoralists harvest the honey while grazing their cattle. This stingless bee has been domesticated using hives made of clay and a domesticated colony can provide two honey harvests each six months in habitats rich in melliferous plants. They can be used as pollinators in greenhouses and open fields, contributing greatly to yield.