Asian honey bees (Apis cerana) can be easily confused with common European honey bees (Apis mellifera), and other local native bees. Ensure you are able to identify Asian honey bees before organising to have the bees removed, as European honey bees and native bees are important to our environment for pollination and honey production.
Bee identification chart
Use this chart below to help you to identify bees.
|Bee and image||Size||Colour||Leg colour||Able to sting||Do they swarm?||Do they nest inside a cavity?|
|Asian honey bee||Up to 10mm||Yellow/dark brown to black stripes||Black||Yes||Yes||Yes - bees will quickly fly in and out of the cavity entrance.|
|European honey bee||Up to 15mm||Yellow/brown to dark brown stripes||Black||Yes||Yes||Yes - bees will be fly into the cavity entrance and crawl into the nest.|
|Little black bush bee||4mm||Black||Black||No||No||Yes - bees will loosely fly around the entrance. Entry hole to nest is very small.|
|Halictidae family||8-12mm||Yellow/dark brown stripes||Orange to red||Yes||No||No - digs/burrows holes in the ground.|
|Blue banded bee||11-12mm||Golden thorax, iridescent blue or white stripes||Grey, furry and black||Yes||No||No - digs/burrows holes in the ground.|
|Carpenter bee||24mm||Bright yellow thorax and black abdomen||Black and furry||Yes||No||No - digs/burrows holes in soft timber.|
Asian and European honey bee comparison
|Asian honey bee||European honey bee|
|The area at the base of the wings is not very hairy and looks black and shiny||Appears golden as the light reflects off the many yellow hairs|
|The alternating brown/black stripes are very even and continue to the end of the abdomen||Has blacker stripes that are thinner towards the front and wider towards the back of the abdomen, so that the end of the abdomen looks much darker|
|Is less hairy||Is more hairy, making it look soft and fluffy|
|the base of the abdomen comes to a defined point||The base of the abdomen is more blunt and rounded|
|Flight is faster and more erratic||Flight is slower and more composed|
|Approach to a flower or entrance hole is erratic||Tends to spend more time on each flower|
If you have seen an Asian honey bee swarm or nest outside of Far North Queensland, upload a picture using the online reporting form. This information will help Biosecurity Queensland track the spread of the pest bee in Australia. Alternatively, contact the Customer Service Centre to report a sighting of suspected bees.