Stingless bees or meliponas are a group of social insects that inhabit tropical and subtropical areas. Unlike the common honey bee, native to the old world (Africa), the meliponas are native to the American continent where more than 350 species have been identified. In Costa Rica, there are 58 species of stingless bees.
Native bees are important pollinators in the Neotropics. Many of the crops for human consumption rely on the existence of these bees.
At present, the meliponas are disappearing along with the destruction of native forests for agricultural use. The population of meleponas are also injured by people who do not have knowledge about the breeding of stingless bees.