Red dwarf honey bee


Have you seen Red dwarf honey bee?

Be on the lookout for Red dwarf honey bee and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in controlling Red dwarf honey bee.

Call us on 13 25 23.

The Red dwarf honey bee is native to the Indian sub-continent and is commonly found in tropical areas.

It is smaller than the European honey bee and has distinct red-brown and white and black bands on its abdomen.

The red dwarf honey bee is a possible carrier of bee pests and diseases and feral infestations could compete with other bees for resources.

The red dwarf honey bee is prohibited matter under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Apis florea

Similar species

  • Black dwarf honey bee (Apis andreniformis)


  • Overall red-brown colour.
  • Abdomen has distinct alternating red-brown and white and black bands.
  • Small, only 7–10mm.
  • Forewing length between 6.0–6.9mm.


  • Nests are exposed, single comb and usually less than 25cm wide.
  • Nests are typically found built around small branches protected by leaf foliage.
  • Colonies are very small, usually only a few thousand bees.


  • Red dwarf honey bees, and parasitic mites which they may carry, such as Euvarroa and Tropilaelaps species, are not known to be present in Australia.
  • Naturally distributed from the Indian subcontinent throughout south-east Asia through to the Malaysian peninsula.
  • Also found in the Middle East, including Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia as well as in Sudan in eastern Africa where populations of red dwarf honey bee have been accidentally introduced.

Life cycle

  • Much of their life cycle, biology and behaviour is similar to that of other Apis species.


  • Host to Euvarroa wongsirii and Euvarroa sinhai, which are close relatives to Varroa mites.
  • Have been observed to carry Tropilaelaps mites (Tropilaelaps clareae). Tropilaelaps clareae are also able to parasitise European honey bee.
  • May compete with other bees for floral resources.


  • The Australian Government's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry monitors incoming cargo ships entering Australian ports for bees and other unwanted insect pests.
  • If you suspect a new incursion of bees in an international airport or seaport, contact the See. Secure. Report. hotline on 1800 798 636.
  • If you think you have seen red dwarf honey bee or parasitic mites in your honey bee colony report it to Biosecurity Queensland or phone 13 25 23.

Legal requirements

  • Red dwarf honey bees are listed as prohibited matter under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks of red dwarf honey bee entering, establishing and spreading in Queensland.

Further information