In Rio Grande do Norte, a caatinga region of North-eastern Brazil, the nesting opportunities that trees offer to stingless bees (Meliponinae) were studied. Samples consisted mostly of tree trunks, which were kept by Meliponinae beekeepers. Nearly 13 per cent of observed nests were in living trees in the field. Seven species of stingless bees, totalling 227 nests, were encountered in 12 tree species. More than 75.0% of stingless bees were found in two tree species being Caesalpinia pyramidalis (Caesalpiniaceae, 41.9%) and Commiphora leptophloeos (Burseraceae, 33.9%). Furthermore, all bee species nidify in C. pyramidalis. A great part of the nests in trunks were of Melipona subnitida, (N = 130) of which 50.0% was found in C. leptophloeos and 22.3% in C. pyramidalis. M. asilvai was predominantly found in C. pyramidalis (92.3%, N = 39). Besides this survey was mainly directed to bee species with beekeping importance, data shows the huge relevance of these two plant species for nesting by stingless bees in the caatinga.
Stingless Bees, Nesting, Brazilian caatinga, Caesalpinia pyramidalis, Commiphora leptophloeos.