Free access
Volume 40, Number 3, May-June 2009
Bee conservation
Page(s) 388 - 409
Published online 07 July 2009
Apidologie 40 (2009) 388-409
DOI: 10.1051/apido/2009023

Ecological impacts of invasive alien species on bees

Jane C. Stout1 and Carolina L. Morales2

1  School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland
2  Laboratorio Ecotono, INIBIOMA (CONICET-Universidad Nacional del Comahue), Pasaje Gutiérrez 1125, 8400, Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina

Received 29 September 2008 – Revised 13 January 2009 – Accepted 15 January 2009 - Published online 7 July 2009

Abstract - We review direct and indirect impacts of invasive alien species (focussing on plants and insects) on native bees worldwide. Although there is a rapidly growing body of research into the effects of invasive alien plants on native plant pollination via disruption of native mutualisms, there has been little research on the impacts of invasive alien plants directly on bees. Such impacts are likely to vary according to the taxon of plant, the functional specificity of the native bees, and ecosystem context. Conversely, there have been more attempts to document impacts of invasive alien social bees on native bees. Most of these studies only indirectly evaluate competition for resources, have focused on a few native species and findings are sometimes contradictory. However, some studies showed strong negative impacts, suggesting that effects might be species-specific. Additionally, pathogen spillover and reproductive disruption due to interspecific mating has been demonstrated among some closely related taxa. Where we lack unequivocal evidence for impacts however, this should not be interpreted as lack of effect. We recommend that future studies are robustly designed and consider impacts on genetic, species (particularly solitary bees) and ecosystem biodiversity.

Key words: Apis mellifera / Bombus / non-native species / pollinator / plant invasion

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2009