A Curtin University study found that introduced European honey bees may lead to a decline or extinction of native bee populations when colonies compete for the same sources of nectar and pollen in urban gardens and jungle areas.
Posted in ‘Biological Journal of the Linian SocietyThe research found that competition between native bees and introduced European honey bees can be particularly intense in residential gardens dominated by non-native flowers, and it occurs when bees share the same floral preferences.
Under these conditions, it appears that European honey bees, due to their abundance and potency, and the ability to exploit a wide range of flowers, could outperform native bees in nectar and pollen resources.
The research was conducted over two years in urban gardens and native vegetation areas in the Swan Coastal Plain in Perth, Western Australia, said lead author, Forrest Researcher Miss Kit Prendergast of Curtin College of Molecular and Life Sciences, and revealed a complex relationship between bees. Original and introduction.
“Not all native bee species were affected, but when the local bee preferred many of the same types of flowers as the honey bee or the body size was larger, which means they need more food, this was when the honey bee had a negative effect on the original bee,” Ms. Prendergast said.
“This is caused by competition for resources, as honey bees have been more successful in exploiting nutritional resources from flowers, leaving not enough nectar and pollen to support the indigenous bee populations.
Unlike native bees, honeybees are found in colonies of tens of thousands of individuals, and are better at telling members of other castes where flower spots are located. This connection is made using a mixture of movement and vibrations known as “the vibrating dance” and the use of smell.
“The competition from honey bees has been particularly fierce in residential gardens where there are lower proportions of the native wildflowers that the local bees have developed to feed on,” said Miss Prendergast.
“The effect of competition with domesticated and feral bees is extremely abundant, when combined with the pressures of habitat loss as a result of increased urbanization and agriculture, and especially livestock raising, puts some native bee species at risk of extinction or even extinction.”
Ms Prendergast said planting more flowering plants, especially those preferred by endangered species than native bees, could help prevent them from declining in number. Controlling honey bee density will also be critical to reduce stress on local, vulnerable bees.
“Native bees are an integral and important part of any ecosystem, including the biodiversity area of southwestern Australia in which our research has been conducted,” said Ms. Prendergast.
“European honey bees have been introduced worldwide and pose an additional threat to many native bee species that are already at risk of declining numbers or even extinction due to increased urbanization.”
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