Impact of the introduced honey bee (Apis mellifera) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) on native bees: A review


  • D. R. PAINI

    1. School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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      Present address: North Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 155 Research Road, Quincy, FL 32351, USA (Email:


Abstract  Interspecific competition for a limited resource can result in the reduction of survival, growth and/or reproduction in one of the species involved. The introduced honey bee (Apis mellifera Linnaeus) is an example of a species that can compete with native bees for floral resources. Often, research into honey bee/native bee competition has focused on floral resource overlap, visitation rates or resource harvesting, and any negative interaction has been interpreted as a negative impact. Although this research can be valuable in indicating the potential for competition between honey bees and native bees, to determine if the long-term survival of a native bee species is threatened, fecundity, survival or population density needs to be assessed. The present review evaluates research that has investigated all these measurements of honey bee/native bee competition and finds that many studies have problems with sample size, confounding factors or data interpretation. Guidelines for future research include increasing replication and using long-term studies to investigate the impact of both commercial and feral honey bees.