Competition between honey bees and wild bees - a global literature review

Nadine Arzt1, Andreas von Heßberg1, Mani Shrestha1
1 Störungsökologie & Vegetationsdynamik

O 3.5 in Afternoon Session

13.10.2022, 15:00-15:15, H 36

The results of our literature review suggest that competitive situations do occur. Contest for floral resources like nectar and pollen seems to take place. The degree of overlapping host plants is highly variable, as it can differ from species to species. Sharing of food sources is a prerequisite so that wild bees can experience consequences. The majority of studies reviewed here imply negative impacts of honeybees on solitary or state-forming wild bees. The extent of these effects depends on various variables, including habitat, resources, distance to the honeybees hive, and the degree of specialisation. Nevertheless, it should be noted that a switch of wild bees to other plants does not necessarily mean a loss of fitness in a population. However, if the substitute sources are less suitable for example reproduction may be reduced. Many studies also show combined effects. This means that different parameters investigated exhibit different results, or that the reactions of individual bee species differ. According to our analyses, the original distribution area also plays an important role. Most of the literature with negative consequences was conducted outside the natural range of Apis mellifera. In addition, there is a tendency towards more adverse impacts in wild habitats compared to agricultural sites. This leads to the proposal to act according to the precautionary principle and to avoid installing apiaries in nature reserves. In contrast to floral resources, there seems to be no evidence of rivalry for nesting sites. An individually adjustable limit of honeybee densities should be set and subsequently not exceeded. In conclusion, competition between honeybees and wild bees is highly variable and individual. The situation is complex, and the question of negative effects cannot be answered uniformly. As the focus is still on Apis mellifera as the main pollinator, more attention should be paid to wild bees and their fascinating ways of living.

Keywords: honey bees, wild bees, competition, literature review,

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