The impact of Asian honey bees
The Asian honey bees (AHB) were first detected in Cairns, Queensland in May 2007. The pest has the potential to spread to large areas of Australia and poses a threat to people, environment and the economy.
Asian honey bees and people
AHB are known to nest in small urban environment cavities (e.g. letter boxes and roof eaves) and as a result, have the potential to be in contact with humans. AHB do not appear to be any more aggressive than European honey bees (EHB) and in most cases have been described as having a gentle temperament, but will still sting if confronted.
Asian honey bees and the environment
It is unknown to what extent AHB will impact the environment. However, it is thought that they may compete with native insects for food and nesting sites. AHB may also disrupt the pollination cycle of native flora and may help pollinate certain weeds and therefore aid their spread throughout Australia.
Asian honey bees and the economic threat
The established population in the Cairns region does not carry any varroa mites. However, they are a natural host for these mites and will have the potential to aid their spread throughout Australia (if introduced). This would be a serious economic threat to Australia's honey bee industry and the pollination of certain crops that are reliant on managed and feral EHB for pollination services.
How you can help slow the spread
Biosecurity is everyone's responsibility, and you can play an important role in managing AHB and reducing their spread throughout Australia.
Be on the look out for bees and check your vessel/vehicle and trailer before travelling long distances. This is an important step to reduce the risk of the bee being spread throughout Australia.
The Asian honey bee Transition to Management program is working with industries to provide a range of safe and effective tools for pest controllers, beekeepers and local government agencies to use, that may come in contact with AHB.
- Identifying Asian honey bees
- Asian honey bee nests and swarms
- History of Asian honey bees
- Restricted area and movement restriction for beekeepers
- Report Asian honey bee sightings
- Asian honey bee Transition to Management program
- Asian honey bee scientific research
- Overview of the Asian honey bee
- General information on varroa mites
- Overview of varroa mites
- Plant Health Australia