Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Eradicate existing populations of invasive non-native species

Key messages

One replicated trial in Louisiana, USA, demonstrated that colonies of invasive Africanized honey bees Apis mellifera can be killed by providing insecticide (acephate)-laced syrup for 30 minutes. One replicated controlled before-and-after trial attempted to eradicate European buff-tailed bumblebees Bombus terrestris from trial sites in Japan by catching and killing foraging bees. The treatment led to an increase in numbers of two native bumblebee species, but did not eradicate B. terrestris.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


Williams et al. (1989) tested a method for killing naturalised colonies of Africanized honey bee Apis mellifera using poisoned bait, in an outdoor experiment in Louisiana, USA. Nineteen colonies were given sucrose-honey syrup containing the organophosphate insecticide acephate at 250 ppm (mg/l), at feeding stations 10 m away from the experimental hives during April 1988. 13 colonies died within three days. In six treated colonies and two control colonies, the queen bee survived or was replaced and the colony survived. Treatment lasted for 30-40 minutes before foragers became poisoned. No other insects were observed visiting the bait.


Nagamitsu et al. (2010) removed foraging non-native buff-tailed bumblebees B. terrestris from six wooded sites (0.1-1.0 ha in size) in agricultural and urban landscapes in the Chitose River basin, Ishikari, Hokkaido, Japan, from 2005 to 2006, and monitored bumblebees at these and seven control sites from 2004 to 2006. The removal treatment increased numbers of the native bumblebee B. ardens in both years, and increased numbers of B. hypocrita in one year, but did not consistently lead to a drop in the numbers of B. terrestris trapped at the sites.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Dicks, L.V., Showler, D.A. & Sutherland, W.J. (2010) Bee conservation: evidence for the effects of interventions. Pelagic Publishing, Exeter, UK