Honey bees and beekeeping

Asian honey bee alert

Asian honey bees are a significant threat to Australian and Northern Territory (NT) honey and pollination industries because they could carry the varroa mite which feeds on bees.

They can also spread other pests or diseases to European honey bees, which are used to produce honey and pollinate fruit and vegetable crops.

The Asian honey bee is already in Queensland and a swarm was found in Karama in May 2018.

Authorities are asking the community to report any suspect bees to help protect beekeeping and plant industries.

Asian honey bees:

  • are yellow and dark brown with black stripes on their body and legs
  • similar to the common European honey bee, but about 5mm smaller
  • move in very tight clusters that range from the size of a closed hand to that of a basketball when swarming
  • are more aggressive than European bees and more likely to sting.

Bee comparison

The photo above shows the Asian honey bee (at right) compared with the standard European honey bee (at left).

You must report suspect bees to Plant Biosecurity by calling 08 8999 2118 or the exotic plant pest hotline on 1800 084 881.

You can find out what to look for by getting the Asian honey bee poster PDF (595.0 KB).

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Last updated: 12 November 2021

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