Bees play a key role in pollination and thereby help maintain plant diversity. The stingless bee Melipona scutellaris is an important pollinator in northeastern Brazil because it is endemic to this region. Both deforestation and timber harvesting have reduced the nesting sites for this species, thus reducing its population and range. Genetic studies may help reverse this process by providing important tools for their proper management with a view to conservation of this species. Microsatellite markers have proven to be ideal for mapping genes and population genetic studies.