There are close to 120 species of native stingless bees in Colombia, many of them with important uses and meanings for diverse social and cultural groups. The stingless beekeeping (meliponiculture) is an activity in process of growth and technification in Latin America and other regions, but there are a little information about their characteristics and development in Colombia. Through information collected by interviews to 75 stingless beekeepers of 16 departments of Colombia, 25 species of stingless bees were identified, grouped in 12 genera. Approximately nine more uncertain species were also found, four new records for the country are presented, and geographical distribution, urban beekeeping and vernacular names reported. The characteristics of most common cultivated genera (Tetragonisca, Melipona, Paratrigona, Scaptotrigona and Nannotrigona) are presented, and the importance of the link between biological and cultural diversity revealed in vernacular names, are discussed. Facing a growing of meliponiculture in the world, some research needs and risks for the conservation and management of the diversity of stingless bees and related knowledge are remarked.