Keep an eye out for Asian honey bees


Territorians are encouraged to report sightings of unusual bees to the Department of Primary Industry and Resources following the recent detection of a swarm of Asian honey bees in Karama, a northern suburb of Darwin.

Asian honey bees are a significant threat to Australian and Northern Territory (NT) honey and pollination industries because they could carry bee pests and diseases such as the varroa mite which feeds on bees.

Asian honey bees are:

  • yellow and dark brown with black body stripes and legs
  • similar to the common European honey bees, but approximately 5mm smaller
  • when swarming, they move in very tight clusters that range from the size of a closed hand to that of a basketball
  • more aggressive than European bees and more likely to sting.

The department is also urging bird enthusiasts to report the sunset movements of rainbow bee-eaters. Bee-eaters move collectively to their single roost tree shortly before dusk. By tracking the roosts, pellets can be collected to monitor for the presence of honey bee species.

If you spot any suspect bees or the roosts of rainbow bee-eaters, please contact the department apiary officer on 0401 115 853.

For further information, visit the Asian honey bee alert page or read the media release.

A swarm of Asian honey bees has been detected in Darwin
A swarm of Asian honey bees has been detected in Darwin.

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