• Are European Honey Bees a Pest in Australia?

  • We get a lot of people questioning why we list European Honey bees as pests on our website with concerns that we were destroying a precious pollinating species in which we are experiencing a worldwide shortage of.

    We’ve put together a few reasons why European honey bees are actually considered as pests in Australia and how they are non-crucial to the ecosystem in this country.

    1. The European honey bee is not native to Australia and thus any uncontrolled colony should be considered feral.
    2. European honey bees are social in hierarchical structure and thus out compete our solitary native bees for pollen and food.
    3. European honey bees have very little commercial value in terms of the production of honey or pollination of crops.
    4. European honey bees regularly form there hives in  hollows in large gum trees this displaces our native cockatoo species including the endangered Carnaby’s cockatoo.
    5. Australia does not have a shortage of European honey bee stocks unlike the USA, where mass land clearing and the persistent and widespread use of insecticides has drastically destroyed both native American bee stocks and the stocks of European honey bees.
    6. Feral European bee colonies can contain disease and most apiarists are wary of introducing feral colonies alongside their disease free bees.
    7. Feral bee colonies are often located in areas that are difficult to access and therefore any apiarist who is moving colonies on a volunteer or charitable basis may not have the resources or time to translocate the colony.
    8. European bee colonies are a public liability, unfortunately due to the prevalence of allergies in our society including allergic reactions to bee stings and the fact that our society has become more litigious on the whole, land owners, City Councils, Schools, Hospitals and Government departments etc. are required to have feral bee colonies treated as soon as possible to ensure members of the public are not stung by the bees.

    For more information, have a look at the Invasive Bees in Australia page from the Department of the Environment as well as the Feral European Bees page from the WA Museum website.