Products

Sugarbag bees produces and sells a range of stingless bee keeping products including a hive stocked with bees, empty hive boxes, roofs and mounts for hives, tools and propolis. See below for a description of these products.

Hive Stocked With Bees
$550

Want to keep your own stingless bees? You can start by finding your own nest and transferring it to a box. Or you can take an easy path and buy your first hive. 

Pricing

We sell Honey OATH hives stocked with a strong nucleus of bees for $550 each. We also sell professionally constructed Empty Honey OATH Hives (no bees), for $165. We sell two bee species, each in two hive designs. See details below. 

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Want to keep your own stingless bees? You can start by finding your own nest and transferring it to a box. Or you can take an easy path and buy your first hive. 

Pricing

We sell Honey OATH hives stocked with a strong nucleus of bees for $550 each. This price includes a metal roof. We sell two bee species, each in two hive designs. See details below. 

For placing an order to purchase a stocked hive or empty hive box, see below, or alternatively email us (tim@sugarbag.net). For local pickup, we usually have hives and hive boxes available for sale at short notice. For orders outside the Brisbane region we may need up to 6 weeks to prepare a stocked hive for postage. When mailing hives, we charge a postage and handling fee of $50 for Qld or $100 for NSW. Various payment options are available.

Please note - it is now too late in the season to send stingless bees to locations south of Byron Bay. Feel free to order your hive now, and we will contact you to arrange delivery in Spring. 

In preparing for the arrival of your recently purchased hive, or while considering whether to buy a hive, there are a few important factors to consider. These include:

Our GUARANTEE 

We guarantee the survival of hives for one year as long as they are treated properly. If your hive dies, we will replace it, free of charge, upon return of the dead hive. Note that we cannot guarantee a hive that experiences temperatures of greater than 40C, receives direct sun after 10 am in summer, is kept outside their natural geographical range, is opened, is split, or has honey extracted.

Which species?

We sell two Australian native social stingless bee species, Tetragonula carbonaria and Tetragonula hockingsi. Carbonaria naturally occurs in coastal areas between Nowra NSW and Bundaberg Qld. This is the most cold tolerant species and can survive in many parts of NSW, including all coastal areas from Nowra north. However as you move inland from the coast and the moderating influence of the ocean, the climate becomes less favourable. This is especially true where you gain altitude. So Canberra and Katoomba are definitely not suitable. Areas where you can grow bananas perennially and they bear fruit, may also be suitable to keep carbonaria. If you get heavy frosts, it may not be suitable. If just an occasional frost, then it could be OK. Remember, they are really a subtropical species. In cooler areas hives need to be carefully sited and managed. Harvesting honey from hives in these areas may not be possible. These bees will not fly below 18 degrees C and they need their stored food to survive through winter. It also may never be possible to propagate your hive in these areas. Certainly people do divide hives and extract honey in Sydney, but usually close to the coast where the extremes of low and high temperature are moderated. If purchasing a hive for location is such areas, we would not be able to offer our usual guarantee if they succumbed to cold in the winter. 

We also have hives of Tetragonula hockingsi available for sale. This species is more suited to coastal areas of Queensland.


The Australian Native Bee Book
$35

Prize winner – 2016 Whitley Awards for Australasian Zoological Literature and 2017 Small Publishers' Adult Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards

Visit the Native Bee Book website for more details, stockists and sneak peaks

The Australian Native Bee Book describes native bees generally and provides a complete guide to keeping Australian native stingless bees. It is richly illustrated with over 500 photos, drawings and charts to increase accessibility and aid learning. It is written by an expert who has spent his lifetime intimately engaged with these unique creatures.

Empty Bee Hives

We sell empty hive boxes in four designs: Standard OATH (Original Australian Trigona hive) with observation window, Honey OATH, Mini OATH, and Mini Honey OATH. 

All hive boxes are professionally made, built of 25 mm thick hoop pine or plywood, nailed and glued, and painted (three coats). They are guaranteed to fit together precisely (important for sealing out natural enemies and climatic extremes), and to last for many years. The bottom of the mid section (where you split a hive) has built-in bars to prevent slumping after a split and to allow a clean split. The sections are held together with plastic strapping. The hives have short metal feet and a second hole for ventilation. Strapping is included in the price. This price does NOT include a metal roof which we recommend if you plan to keep the hive exposed to the elements. 

These products are available for collection from 473 Montague Rd, West End. For delivery, add about $25 for P&H.

$175
Original Australian Trigona hive (OATH)

The original standard design with an observation window suitable for colony propagation. 

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The Original Australian Trigona Hive (OATH) is great for colony propagation by splitting, transferring and budding; but is not well suited for extracting honey.

Our OATHs come with an observation window for internal inspection. The window is mounted on the top and covered by a removable lid to keep the hive dark and insulated when it is not in use. Windows may be useful when transferring or budding hives, for research and are an attractive addition to hives used for demonstration and education.

Approximate internal volume: 7 Litres.

$175
Honey OATH Hive

This is our most common hive and the one we recommend for most purposes. 

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This is our most common hive and the one we recommend for most purposes. 

Compared with a standard OATH, the honey OATH has an extra compartment on top, called a honey super which allows you to remove honey with minimal disruption to the nest. Honey OATHs are also just as suitable as standard OATHs for splitting or pollination. We recommend honey OATHs even if you do not intend to extract honey, as they have better insulation on the top, an optional storage area and so are generally better homes for the bees.

We recommend this box to divide a any standard OATH hive which has the same footprint dimensions (280 x 200 mm). Some boxes use thinner or thicker wall material so the internal dimensions may differ, but this should not be a problem. Approximate internal volume: 8.5 Litres. 

$160
Mini OATH Hive

The mini OATH suits species with naturally smaller nests such as australis, clypearis, mellipes, etc.

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The mini OATH suits species with naturally smaller nests such as australis, clypearis, mellipes, etc...

Like the normal size OATHs, the Mini OATHs come in both a two section standard with observation window and a three section honey version. 

The shorter and flatter size reduces the volume. The internal volume of a two-section mini OATH and a three-section mini Honey OATH is 3 litres or 4 litres respectively, which is slightly less than half the internal volume of a normal hive. 

Hive Accessories

$15
Metal Roof

Just like a wooden house, a wooden hive exposed to the elements needs a protective roof.

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Just like a wooden house, a wooden hive exposed to the elements needs a protective roof. We sell an effective metal roof that extends over the front and back of the hive. It grips onto the hive by its own tension. 

$40
Wooden Shelf

Use this shelf to mount your hive on a wall or post. 

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Use this shelf to mount your hive on a wall or post. It comes with two long coach screws to attach it to a wall. For added stability, you can use a small screw to secure the hive to the shelf, either from below or through the side brace. 

$12
Brick & Paver Stand

A concrete ¾-size block and a 300 mm square paver makes a simple, effective and attractive hive mount. 

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A ¾-size concrete block and a 300 mm square paver makes a simple, effective and attractive hive mount. Place the paver on top for a broader and more secure base for the hive. For stability, you can dig a hole and partially bury the block. Use a concrete foundation for greater stability. For added strength, secure the block and paver with an adhesive such as “Liquid Nails Landscape”. 

$50
Metal Stand

Our welded and galvanized hive stand makes a durable hive stand. Drive the stand into the ground with a mallet.

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Our welded and galvanized hive stand makes a durable hive stand. Drive the stand into the ground with a mallet. Place the hive on top. Fasten the hive and roof to the base using the metal strap.

Our current stock of hive stands are 400mm tall. Please contact us prior to purchase if you require a 600mm stand. 

$150
Sturdy Security Metal Stand

Use a sturdy steel mesh cage on a post in positions where security is a concern. 

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Use a sturdy steel mesh cage on a post in positions where security is a concern. The cage includes lockable door. Please note - roof not included. It will need to be concreted into the ground. Use a padlock to lock the door. 

$40
Bed of Nails

The tool, which resembles a miniature bed of nails is used to pierce the honey pots to extract honey.

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The tool, which resembles a miniature bed of nails is used to pierce the honey pots to extract honey.

$10
Hive Tool

The American hive tool is ideal for separating hive sections and scrapping propolis. 

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The American hive tool is ideal for separating hive sections and scrapping propolis.

$7
Propolis

Propolis is the nest-building material of Australian native stingless bees. Indigenous Australian's collected it from nests and used it for all kinds of traditional purposes, including didgeridoo mouthpieces.

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Propolis from stingless bees is the authentic didgeridoo mouthpiece. 

What is it? 

Propolis is the nest-building material of Australian native stingless bees. Indigenous Australian's collected it from nests and used it for all kinds of traditional purposes, including didgeridoo mouthpieces.

How do you use it?

Don’t ask me; you’re the didgeridoo expert; I just collect the stuff! But here’s a tip: it softens with heat, so drop it in warm water, put it in the sun, or whatever, and then you should be able to work it easily into the shape you desire. Another tip: it hardens with age (but it never really sets and can melt on a very hot day so don’t leave it in your car in the sun on a hot day or your mouthpiece will transform itself to a horrible sticky mess on your carpet). But here’s the best tip of all, when handling it, wet your hands, it will make the job a lot easier.

Where do we get it?

We harvest the propolis sustainably from native bees in artificial wooden hives. The colony is not harmed. Only small amounts of propolis are produced, about 200g per hive per year.

To get technical

Propolis is a mixture of wax and resin. Wax is from glands on the bee’s body and is a yellow soft material. Resin is produced by plants and is dark sticky stuff that hardens with age. The bees collect resin from plants, take it back to the nest, mix it with wax and use it to make their nest.

Propolis Prices

Block of  propolis (12 g, enough for one or two mouthpieces) AU$7. 

Bulk purchase: $500 per kilogram.

For overseas customers, please contact us for a postage price.

$66
Honey extraction kit

All you need to extract honey including hive tool, bed of nails, collecting container, storing container. 

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This kit is all you need to start extraction honey from your Honey OATH. It includes a hive tool, bed of nails, container for collecting the draining honey, a 500 ml PET container and new straps and buckles for securing the hive closed after opening. 

$35
Picket hive mount

Galvanised unit for mounting an OATH hive on a steel picket 

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This galvanised (hot-dipped) unit allows you to easily mount your OATH hive on top of a steel picket (Y / star picket). The mount can be tightened onto the picket and the hive screwed or strapped to the mount. 

Honey
$30

Sugarbag is honey made by Australian native stingless bees. Normal honey is made by honey bees introduced from Europe. Both types of honey are a natural sweet substance originating from the nectar of flowers, which bees collect and transform. But sugarbag has its own special flavour. Try it drizzled over vanilla ice cream or other dessert. Only tiny amounts of sugarbag are produced, less than 1 kg per hive per year and so it is a special product, to be savoured and relished.

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Sugarbag is honey made by Australian native stingless bees. Normal honey is made by honey bees introduced from Europe. Both types of honey are a natural sweet substance originating from the nectar of flowers, which bees collect and transform. But sugarbag has its own special flavour. Try it drizzled over vanilla ice cream or other dessert. Only tiny amounts of sugarbag are produced, less than 1 kg per hive per year and so it is a special product, to be savoured and relished.

Sugarbag was, and continues to be, a highly prized food for Indigenous Australians who hunted it from wild nests; it’s real bush tucker. Read an extract from The Native Bee Book about indigenous peoples and stingless bees. 

Our hive designs that allow us to extract honey sustainably, without harming the colony. Extracting honey from a hive with a dedicated honey section is simple: just pry, pierce, drain and strain. To use this method, you need a hive that has a section on top for storing the honey (see our honey OATH design). First, remove the honey section by loosening it with a hive tool or other lever and prying it open. Then invert the honey section so that the open side faces up, and pierce the honey pots. I use a tool that resembles a miniature bed of nails to do this. Next turn the honey section over onto a plastic container to catch the tide of liquid gold that issues forth. Allow the honey to drain for at least five minutes. After the honey section has fully drained, put it back on top of the hive. Back home in your kitchen, you can strain the honey again using a finer gauze to filter out any impurities. 

The honey pots damaged during honey extraction will be quickly rebuilt. When the hive has regained weight, you can repeat the extraction procedure and you will find the honey pots rebuilt as good as new. 

To buy honey, please send us an email at tim@sugarbag.net