Interspecific matings between Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. Does it happen and what does it mean for the industry?

  • Published: 29 Aug 2014

  • Author(s): Oldroyd, Ben, Dr.

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An Asian honey bee, Apis cerana, became established in Cairns in 2007. This new invasive species is likely to have various adverse effects on the natural environment and on the beekeeping industry. This Summary addresses two of the most important issues confronting the beekeeping industry: do interspecific matings occur between the invader and endemic A. mellifera and if matings do occur, does it matter?  Previous studies in Japan showed that if there are no other males to mate with, A. mellifera queens will mate with A. cerana drones.  After such matings eggs either fail to hatch, hatch into drones, or, rarely, into female clonal offspring of the queen.