The introduced Honeybee Apis mellifera and the precautionary principle: Reducing the conflict

Graham H. Pyke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


For more than 20 years there has been conflict arising from different points of view concerning the role of the introduced honeybee. There is a strong prima facie argument, and some supporting evidence, that introduced honeybees are likely to adversely affect the environment. Some land management agencies have consequently adopted a policy of removal of hive honeybees from areas devoted primarily to conservation. On the other hand, some argue that the scientific evidence on the issue remains poor, point out the economic benefits that arise from the honeybee industry and suggest that removal of apiaries from such areas is unjustified. It is suggested in this paper that adoption of the Precautionary Principle could significantly reduce this conflict. Instead of the focus being on obtaining definitive "proof" concerning possible impacts of honeybees, it could shift to finding ways to reduce the density of feral honeybees, and hence their impacts on both the natural environment and honeybees in hives. The focus could also shift to finding sites where reduction in honeybee density is feasible and the likely conservation gains arising from such a reduction are relatively high. In this way both the honeybee industry and the natural environment could benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Zoologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Apis mellifera
  • Australia
  • Competitor
  • Feral
  • Honeybee
  • Pollinator
  • Precautionary


Dive into the research topics of 'The introduced Honeybee Apis mellifera and the precautionary principle: Reducing the conflict'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this