Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Honey bee impact on plants and wild bees in natural habitats.

Abstract

The honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) has been spread all over the world by humans and is now the most widespread bee invasive species. In spite of being considered a beneficial species, there is a controversy around its impact on natural habitats caused by its high densities. Here we review the most important effects and mechanisms attributed to an increase in honey bee abundance on plants and wild bees. We found that the impacts can be negative and positive as well, playing an important role the ecological context (resource availability, wild pollinator community, etc.) and the honey-bee density. Effects occur at the individual, population, and community level, affecting plant-pollinator networks, while the consequences for ecosystem functioning and crop pollination are still uncertain. It has been recently shown that the honey bee can also act as a selective force affecting plant evolution in a relative short time. The parasite and pathogen transmission from honey bees to wild pollinators has become a relevant issue in the last years. Although honey bees can benefit wild plants pollination, because impacts in other bees are primary negative, we should be careful with hives introduction at natural sites. Especially until we can determine the parasites and pathogen transmission consequences.