Not Asian Honey Bees

The other night over a beer the neighbour was regaling us with tales of bee swarms - unsure as to whether these were Asian Honey Bees [who harbour dangerous mites that are detrimental to the European Honey Bees and therefore industry], he called the good people at bio-security.

They came and did a sweep of the area, unfortunately the bees had moved on - and no one was the wiser as to their species.

All that changed this morning. Out looking at the little frogs who are clamouring to attract mates I couldn't help noticing the persistent buzzing in the mock orange that is currently flowering.

Sure enough, it was bees - honey bees, and lots of 'em. But of what type, I couldn't be sure [the Australian honey bee doesn't look like the N.Z honey bee I had grown up with - at least too me]. So, erring on the side of caution, I rang bio-security and got the ever helpful Lisa, who suggested I take a pic and send it through:

This I did and happily I was assured that the bees in question were indeed European and therefore a real boon to the garden.

Lisa also gave a really helpful and succinct guide to identifying the problem bees:

You are definitely looking at our regular European Honeybee. See how the stripes on their abdomen get blacker toward the tip? In the Asian bee the stripes are much more sharply defined, narrower, and yellow/black right to the tip. Asian bees are also blacker in the thorax and not as hairy as the Euro bee. Asian bees are about 10mm long, Euros about 15mm, however some colonies of European bees can be smaller in size than usual. It can be tricky to tell the difference.

Interestingly, the photo's I took, do indeed make them look like regular honey bees, but strangely, to my naked eye the abdomen looked much, much darker than the picture shows ... perhaps it's time for that eye test?.

Anyway, the best part is that bees in my area have an extremely tough time of it due to the amount of pesticides sprayed on the surrounding cane farms, so to have them knocking about is - at least to me, a real positive.

So, a huge thanks to Lisa for her interest and amazingly fast response.

If you have any queries or concerns about Asian Honey Bees [or any other potentially invasive species of animal or plant], don't hesitate to call bio-security on 13 25 23

P.S ... they assure me it's rare that bio-security turn up in yellow hazard suits and quarantine whole communities in plastic tents, so don't let the scary Govt name put you off eh?


  1. so when were you going to inform the neighbours?

  2. Um, as I made the post on the same day as the event and you commented concurrently - I figured you got the news ...

    But we'll pop round with a beer ASAP and have a giggle ... BTW, Jo reminded me we discussed the bees at the shops, not over beers ... but I like the over beers reference better - after all, we do discuss the best things over beer right?

    Damn right! See ya's soon.


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