Asian honey bee information for pest management operators

As a pest management operator in Queensland, it's important that you can identify Asian honey bees, as well as their swarms and nests.

You should also know how to safely destroy them, and when to report suspected Asian honey bee sightings to Biosecurity Queensland.

Identifying Asian honey bees, swarms and nests

If you are contacted about suspected Asian honey bee swarms or nests, you should confirm the identity of the bees before taking any action.

Use the Asian honey bee image gallery to learn how to distinguish Asian honey bees from European honey bees and other native Australian bees.

European honey bees and native bees

Asian honey bees are easily confused with European honey bees and other local native bees, which should not be destroyed - these bees are important for pollination and honey production. Wherever possible, swarms of European honey bees should be referred to a local beekeeper who can remove the swarm before it establishes a nest.

Contact our Customer Service Centre for details of local beekeepers.

Report sightings of Asian honey bees

You should report all suspect bee sightings (including any swarms or nests you have destroyed) and provide a sample of the bees (where possible). This is particularly important if the swarm or nest is suspected to be a new incursion, or if it was located near an airport or seaport in Queensland.

New incursions of honey bees may result in the introduction of varroa mites, which could be a significant threat to European honey bee colonies in Australia.

Record the exact location of the sighting and contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or the Exotic Plant Pest hotline on 1800 084 881.

You can also use our online reporting form.

Submitting bee samples to Biosecurity Queensland

All suspected Asian honey bee samples submitted to Biosecurity Queensland must be placed in a sealable, non-crushable container and labelled correctly, including the chemical used to destroy the bees. If you have access to a vial and 70% ethanol, you can also use these to preserve the sample.

Make sure you follow the requirements for the packaging and transport of pathology specimens.

Postal address

Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory
Health and Food Sciences Precinct
PO Box 156

Delivery address

Specimen Receipt (Loading Dock 12)
Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory
Health and Food Sciences Precinct
39 Kessels Road

Phone: (07) 3708 8762
Fax: (07) 3708 8861

Destroying Asian honey bee swarms and nests

Asian honey bee swarms and nests behave differently when approached and often require a slightly different method of treatment.

Keep in mind that it is easier to remove a swarm from a property before it moves into a permanent location (like a wall cavity) and makes a nest.

Read the Guidelines for industry - destroying swarms or nests of Asian honey bees (PDF, 258KB) for standard destruction techniques, safety precautions and first aid advice.

Watch a video to learn different techniques to destroy an Asian honey bee nest or swarm.

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