Free Access
Volume 36, Number 4, October-December 2005
Page(s) 613 - 621
Published online 15 November 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 613-621
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005046

No short-term impact of honey bees on the reproductive success of an Australian native bee

Dean R. Painia, Matthew R. Williamsb and J. Dale Robertsa

a  School of Animal Biology M092, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
b  CALM Science Division, Department of Conservation and Land Management, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983, Australia

(Received 13 December 2004 - revised 12 April 2005 - accepted 4 May 2005; Published online: 15 November 2005)

Abstract - The European honey bee was introduced to Australia 180 years ago and feral populations now occupy most coastal environments. Although much debate has taken place regarding the possible impact of honey bees on Australian native bees, there has been little direct research. This study presents the results of a replicated Before-After Control-Impact (BACI) experiment simulating the putative impact of feral honey bees on an undescribed species of Australian solitary bee (Megachile sp. M323/F367). Although a large resource overlap occurred between the two species, there was no significant change in the reproductive success of the native bee. The realised precision of the experiment was assessed and showed appropriate sensitivity for three important reproductive variables. The native bee, being better adapted to the high summer temperatures experienced during the period of this experiment, may be able to withstand honey bee competition.

Key words: BACI / competition / Apis mellifera / Megachile / resource overlap / introduced species

Corresponding author: Dean R. Paini

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005