Nature conservation

Threatened species

Competition from feral honey bees, Apis mellifera L. - profile

Scientific name: Competition from feral honey bees, Apis mellifera L.
Conservation status in NSW: Key Threatening Process
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 29 Nov 2002
Profile last updated: 19 Aug 2017


Competition from feral honeybees Apis mellifera L. was listed as a KEY THREATENING PROCESS on Schedule 3 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 [29 November 2002].

Feral honeybees are introduced bees, Apis mellifera, which originally escaped from hives and have subsequently established in the wild, usually centered on tree hollows. Feral honeybees are thought to occur patchily throughout most of the State (Paton, 1996), with the exception of alpine areas.

Honeybees impact on biodiversity in two broad ways: via competition for tree hollows and via competition for floral resources, such as pollen and nectar. The loss of tree hollows via occupation by feral honeybees reduces the number of hollows available for native animals to breed and shelter. This is of particular concern for species which are threatened. Hollows are an extremely important resource for many Australian animals, particularly birds and mammals.

Threatened species which are likely to be affected by competition from honeybees for hollows include the Brush-tailed Phascogale, Squirrel Glider, Yellow-bellied Glider, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, Glossy Black Cockatoo, Superb Parrot, and Regent Parrot. Populations of protected species that may become threatened include the Common Brushtail Possum, Greater Glider, and Sugar Glider (Garnett 1992, Oldroyd et al. 1994, Paton 1996, Soderquist et al. 1996, Trainor 1995, Wood and Wallis 1998, Pyke 1999, Soderquist 1999).


Recovery strategies

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region