Asian Honey Bee

Asian honey bee

South and Southeast Asia are the natural habitats of the Asian honey bee. It differs from the European honey bee in size and hairiness by having conspicuous black/brown and yellow stripes and being smaller overall.

The Asian honey bee has the potential to spread illness and pests to other species of bees, and feral populations may pose a threat to agricultural pollinators.


  • Aggressive protects nesting places and stings trespassers; 
  • Bees are around 10 mm in length; 
  • Bodies are smaller and less hairy than European honey bees.


  • Nesting sites include tree cavities, eaves, walls, floors, letterboxes, cable reels, compost bins, and other urban settings. 
  • They are notorious for abandoning their young and disappearing. Colonies on the run can cover up to 10 kilometres of ground. 
  • The Asian honey bee colonies found in North Queensland are small, with just 5,000 bees per colony at most.


  • The Apis cerana genus honey bees can be found throughout Asia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Australia. The Papua Province in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands are all affected by this strain, which originated in Indonesia.
  • It was found for the first time in 2007 at Portsmith, Cairns, Queensland.
  • Asian honey bees are known to infest in far northern Queensland. The area extends from Cairns north to Wonga Beach, west to Southedge and Dimbulah, and south to Silky Oak and Euramo. 
  • The Varroa mite has been proclaimed eradicated in the United States after the Incidents of 2016, 2019, and 2020 and a National Varroa Mite Eradication Program was launched to accomplish this goal.

Life Cycle

  • Usually matures more swiftly than the European honey bee.
  • Queens mature in 13-16 days, workers in 19 days, and drones in 23 days (compared to 21 days, 24 days and 13 days, respectively, for European honey bees).


Asian honey bees compete with native bees for nesting locations, threatening native pollinators. Disrupting ecosystems and endangering economies, pests can spread undesirable mites and diseases.