Honeybee

Apis mellifera

Commercial honeybees, Apis mellifera, are not native to Australia. They were introduced from Europe in about 1822. They are now found all over Australia.

The honeybee has a painful sting and is the only local insect that leaves the sting in the wound. This eventually causes the bee’s death. Most stings result from stepping on bees with bare feet. This frequently happens when bees are visiting flowers close to the ground such as clover and fallen Jacaranda flowers.

Ordinarily honeybee stings only cause localised swelling and pain. But in people allergic to bee venom they can be life-threatening. Symptoms can include severe swelling, difficulty breathing and collapse. In these cases the sting should be removed and medical attention sought as soon as possible.

Bees from domesticated hives are relatively docile; those from feral hives can be aggressive. Feral hives are found in hollow trees and cavities. When there is a shortage of suitable nest sites, occasionally exposed hives are built in trees or on buildings and rock faces.

A honeybee visiting a Singapore Daisy flower. Honeybees carry pollen back to the nest in a concave area on their hind legs. A honeybee visiting a Singapore Daisy flower. Honeybees carry pollen back to the nest in a concave area on their hind legs. An exposed honeybee hive attached to the branch of a tree. An exposed honeybee hive attached to the
branch of a tree.

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