Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Positive and negative impacts of non-native bee species around the world.

Abstract

Though they are relatively understudied, non-native bees are ubiquitous and have enormous potential economic and environmental impacts. These impacts may be positive or negative, and are often unquantified. In this manuscript, I review literature on the known distribution and environmental and economic impacts of 80 species of introduced bees. The potential negative impacts of non-native bees include competition with native bees for nesting sites or floral resources, pollination of invasive weeds, co-invasion with pathogens and parasites, genetic introgression, damage to buildings, affecting the pollination of native plant species, and changing the structure of native pollination networks. The potential positive impacts of non-native bees include agricultural pollination, availability for scientific research, rescue of native species, and resilience to human-mediated disturbance and climate change. Most non-native bee species are accidentally introduced and nest in stems, twigs, and cavities in wood. In terms of number of species, the best represented families are Megachilidae and Apidae, and the best represented genus is Megachile. The best studied genera are Apis and Bombus, and most of the species in these genera were deliberately introduced for agricultural pollination. Thus, we know little about the majority of non-native bees, accidentally introduced or spreading beyond their native ranges.