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Author Topic: Asian Bees  (Read 4865 times)
philinacoma
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« on: February 17, 2011, 09:26:35 AM »

I heard tonight that the federal government, in a feat of monumental stupidity, is ceasing funding for the control and eradication of the Asian Honeybee.

My understanding is that are poor pollinators, poor honey producers, aggressive breeders with our queens and their traits hold with the progeny. They are also big on swarming.

Lone, are you anywhere near the outbreak in Queensland?
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2011, 01:26:26 PM »

Are they stopping because of the money or because they do not think they can not stop them from moving south?
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Vetch
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2011, 02:24:24 PM »

Kim Flottum wrote an interesting bit about that general issue and the international shipment of Australian bees to the US.

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/blogs/bees/asian-honey-bee-88122201
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2011, 05:54:49 PM »

I heard tonight that the federal government, in a feat of monumental stupidity, is ceasing funding for the control and eradication of the Asian Honeybee.

My understanding is that are poor pollinators, poor honey producers, aggressive breeders with our queens and their traits hold with the progeny. They are also big on swarming.

Lone, are you anywhere near the outbreak in Queensland?


What? That's crazy! they might as well sign the varroa death certificate now for the Australian industry!
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Mardak
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2011, 04:47:47 AM »

You are correct, Fed. Government is defunding the monitoring destruction program in Queensland. Absolute idiocy just look at Tonga? all apis milfera virtually wiped out over about eight years. 2000 hives down to five. Apis cerana are more dominant genetic material when they bond with feral milfera. These buggers spend millions advertising a failed health reform package yet won't waste my taxes on apis cerana.

Log onto www.securefoodsavebees.com to protest to federal Minister responsible for this irresponsible decision.
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Lone
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2011, 06:19:54 AM »

Good grief,
Oz is right, the response when apis cerana was first observed was mainly because of the varroa threat not the poor pollination.  So far though, none of the colonies destroyed have had varroa.  I haven't read up on it yet, but is this the reason they are stopping funding?  Or is it because apis cerana has completely gotten away? 
We are still the only varroa free country.  We certainly need to do something, because if there is not an effort to seek out colonies, then the new ones that island hop their way here might have varroa!  And they multiply so much, there needs to be more action, not less.
Now, how much funding is involved in one bloke and a small team responding to sightings and moving their sugar tray closer till they find the colony?
I wouldn't be surprised though to hear the daintree is completely overrun already.  It is dense rainforest, and in the area where they have been. The tablelands has a lot of rainforest, and west of there is sparse population, large stations where they could hide.  Phil, here is a little geography lesson.  I am 5 and a half hours fast drive south of the Atherton Tablelands.  The tablelands and Cairns area had been quarantined and bee movement prohibited.  They stopped the quarantine at one stage but I suppose they put it back when they found more colonies.

I am upset to hear this.  Maybe they are saving pennies for disaster relief and closing any programs they can.  Bob Katter lives here somewhere.  If he doesn't like asian bananas, he certainly won't care for asian bees.
All right, I found his phone number on a calendar on the fridge.  I might give him a call when I find out more.  1300301942

Lone
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Mardak
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2011, 01:48:38 AM »

The Varoa we do have is called Varoa Destructor. Asian bees carry another strain of Varoa that is of concern to all of us here in Australia. Bee Doctor Denis Anderson has done years of research into these Varoa and there are some real concerns that Government do not understand or do not want to know about.
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2011, 03:03:31 AM »

The Varoa we do have is called Varoa Destructor. Asian bees carry another strain of Varoa that is of concern to all of us here in Australia. Bee Doctor Denis Anderson has done years of research into these Varoa and there are some real concerns that Government do not understand or do not want to know about.

We already have V. destructor?
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Lone
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2011, 04:55:14 PM »

They haven't found any kind of varroa in Australia yet.  The other kind of varroa found in PNG is V. jacobsoni, which then attacked apis mellifera, as in the film Honeybee Blues.  So that too is a concern here because of the proximity.

Phil, where are the news reports about ceasing the funding?  We are going to have to gather some evidence.

Lone
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Mardak
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2011, 05:23:30 PM »

There is an article in The Age yesterday about the funding and comments from DPI and a few aparists and the VAA about the situation. Came through on Google news alerts.
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yantabulla
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2011, 08:42:44 PM »

This is the link to the article in The Age.

http://news.theage.com.au/national/fear-over-bee-colony-destroying-mite-20070522-e52.html

You may find that it was the QLD government that reduced the funding for eradication of asian bees. 

Either way it is important work & it should continue.
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Lone
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2011, 12:09:47 AM »

Hello yantabulla,

That article is from 2007.
Here is one from yesterday, but it doesn't say anythings about ceasing funding.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/fight-the-mites-might-20110218-1azqe.html

Lone
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yantabulla
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2011, 01:32:57 AM »

G'day Lone, 

Sorry about that.  This article may be more relevant.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/sunday-mail/asian-bee-scourge-packs-4b-sting/story-e6frep2f-1226008665063

Just about to storm here after a hot day.

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Mardak
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2011, 01:45:11 AM »

It will be interesting to see how we manage the Cerana as they continue to develop. Another pest that goes onto the endemic list. I wonder how far down South they will spread over the few years?
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yantabulla
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2011, 01:58:03 AM »

Lone,

Have you called the man in the big hat yet?

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Lone
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2011, 05:25:36 AM »

Hello,
Thanks for that.  It sounds like the cerana are out of control.  If they have travelled 80km in all directions from one colony in 4 years, then I expect the spread will be faster now.  I don't know if the beekeepers in those regions have had any problems yet from interbreeding. 

I'm still on nightshifts yantabulla, but I should be able to give the cameldriver a call this week.

Lone
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Mardak
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« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2011, 02:47:31 AM »

There is a meeting of as many bee Keepers as possible in Canberra on March 1 & 2 to meet and discuss with any politicians who will listen about the potential damage to food security in Australia related to this decision about the Cerana problem. Everyone is invited.
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philinacoma
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2011, 06:34:41 AM »

Phil, here is a little geography lesson.  I am 5 and a half hours fast drive south of the Atherton Tablelands.  The tablelands and Cairns area had been quarantined and bee movement prohibited.  They stopped the quarantine at one stage but I suppose they put it back when they found more colonies.

Hey, I don't need a geography lesson! All I know about where you are is "North Queensland" 

Undecided
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Lone
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2011, 08:24:15 AM »

Now sit up straight and pay attention, Phil.  Brian  Innisfail is in Far North Queensland, which is north of North Queensland. 

I gave Bob's office a call today, but only having had the 30 second experience of politics every couple of years at the polling booth, I didn't have the ability to get any further than the girl at the desk.  No I couldn't talk to him, he's in parliament.  You can with an appointment.  When I said ok to that, she asked what it was about then told me to send an email.  She avoided the question about whether he will read the email, even after I stressed the implications, and said the office will send it to the relevant minister.  It seems to me that if Bob's in parliament then he should be speaking for the people of "the bush" in his region of Kennedy.  I guess it is likely he will be in Canberra at the time of the protest on March the 2nd, so he should have some information about the matter.
I have seen him get fired up about the most mundane topics and it is quite fun to watch.  But if the desk girls keep blocking the information about apis cerana, it sounds like I won't get anywhere.  Can anyone give some advice please?

Lone
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2011, 08:06:34 PM »

Just a thought Lone - what if we all emailed him? someone has to stand up in politics! pulling out of this program is stupid and irresponsible!
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Lone
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« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2011, 11:14:21 PM »

Yes, Oz, or there is the agriculture minister Joe Ludwig whom Mardak pointed out.
We do need to make sure we get our facts right though.  A couple of people have said that cerana interbreed with mellifera, but that is apparently false.  The DPI site says that cerana rob out mellifera, but I checked with the Japanese cerana keeper on here, who says that the robbing goes the other way.  He is going to see a cerana researcher on the 5th of March, so I've asked him to find a couple of things out.
The main problems I can see with being overrun with cerana are the competition for flowers, poor pollination where cerana has taken over too much for mellifera to find residence, and if the program is stopped, it will hide the time when another colony of cerana does come here that hosts mites. 
I'll send you a copy of the email I sent.

Lone
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Lone
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« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2011, 12:02:26 AM »

Mr Katter just left a message on my phone and apologised for his staff member, so I should be able to speak with him shortly.

Lone
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2011, 12:09:12 AM »

Just a thought - but how about if we get a list of facts together - and then each person writes their own letter to either minister - i reckon federal and state - can anybody get the email addresses and list them here? we also need someone who has the experience/knowledge to gather the relevant facts - some of our US counterparts might be able to jump on board too in regard any potential risks they perceive to our live bee export
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ozbee
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« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2011, 08:27:25 PM »

 hi i have  just found this forum is there a profile area anyhow about cerna i am a queen breeder as well as a large crop polliator south of Townsville luckily in dry tropics . the money spent chasing cerna is cat and mouse in that there following feeding stations  . great it has caught over a 100 nests but  are mainly  in town areas.  much who har was made about the few they caught in mangroves abutting  cairns  .point is i raised at the  2nd last conference (nearly two years ago  ) in which i stated as soon as the  sugar crushing  season start sugar bins move up and down the east coast against the rain forrest . because mareba is  also now growing cane the risks from cartage is also there . it must be noted Queensland  7 times the size of england only has 2 apiary officers so quarantine is a joke . i pointed out that large market growers are using gatton then bunderberg bowen / burdekin /mareba / Northern terrioty in stage by stage to concede with growing weather and temperature conditions . they don't care they buy hives anywhere chuck them on there semis  and go .there is very little caring done just buy and dump.

with well over a100 nest caught   i asked this question to those who were running  the program . they felt that it came from one incursion . if one nest  does  get inbreed 100 times with its own drones  to survive would this be possible to have strong colonies . reply not likely . they are now starting to think melfira drones may cross breed if not there has to be more than one incursion . they have attacked  this with the resources given to them and those involved have worked all there might bute the simple fact is far more could be done but the government is not really interested as afis melifera is seen as a pest as well from the strong green movement up    here  .
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Geoff
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« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2011, 05:04:38 PM »

http://www.theage.com.au/national/beeware-the-flying-cane-toad-is-on-the-way-20110226-1b9b7.html
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Mardak
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« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2011, 01:44:40 AM »

Now is the time to have the true independent voice of Bob Katter and the others to step and voice the concerns of the electorate. We are all tired of the party politics surrounding agriculture. Bob comes from Queenland so would have a genuine appreciation of introduced pests such as the Cane Toad and extreme loose radical Greenie creatures. Bob K and company should talk very seriously with Ms Gillard and her mates about spending our money on protecting food security rather than the lifting of import restrictions on some fruits that threaten the liveliehood of local farmers.
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Lone
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« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2011, 10:05:00 PM »

Hello,
Has anyone heard how the meeting in Canberra on Wednesday went?

Lone
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Mardak
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« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2011, 03:53:11 PM »

The meeting in Canberra had quite a lot of beeks but a very sparse number of politicians available to talk with. One of the beek hirearchy had a very brief meeting with the Ag minister. We just have watch this space to see what happens.
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Lone
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« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2011, 09:00:27 AM »

Hello,

I've been trying to look for some articles about the meeting but they seem to be a bit light on.  This is not a bad one  http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/03/02/bee-invasion-flying-asian-cane-toad-a-6-billion-threat/
But still, I think at the moment there should be a distinction between apis cerana and varroa.  Varroa will devastate the food industry, but I wonder how much harm the bee by itself will be.  I am assuming that the mellifera numbers in the solomons were depleted by varroa, and not so much by apis cerana?

It's great to hear from you, Ozbee.  At last there's someone who knows where North Queensland is!  
I'm not exactly sure what you are meaning by quarantine...are you saying that beekeepers in Mareeba are moving their hives to other areas?  
I don't understand how preventing movements of bees will slow spread of apis cerana.  And I don't think it would stop varroa either.
Native bees are great at pollinating native plants, but Woolies doesn't sell a lot of rainforest figs.  Imported foods seem to require imported bees. Maybe the asian bees will pollinate the chinee apples  Wink  I wonder what exactly the greenies eat.

Ozbuzz,  you can find email address and contact details here for your or other MPs  http://www.aph.gov.au/house/feedback.htm  Maybe some of those pollies are wondering why they were given honey last week.  Yes, let's keep informed about this and if we are going to help nip it in the bud it is getting to be urgent.

 I haven't managed to catch up with Bob.  I've been busy, but hopefully I can alert him to some of the issues before the funding is stopped.

Lone


« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 09:16:24 AM by Lone » Logged
yantabulla
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« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2011, 01:44:47 AM »

More Asian bee news from the Land newspaper

http://theland.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/agribusiness-and-general/general/asian-bee-eradication-money-or-science/2098560.aspx

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yantabulla
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« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2011, 01:41:14 AM »

More cerana news

http://theland.farmonline.com.au/news/state/agribusiness-and-general/general/bee-eradication-program-could-be-extended-windsor/2098636.aspx?storypage=1

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Lone
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« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2011, 12:51:58 AM »

I tried calling Mr K again, but apparently he has a 4 month waiting list to be able to talk to him, with 500 people wanting him a day.  But when his diary worker gets back they might slot me in.  If there's no success I'll try an annoying email again.  Has anyone been emailing or contacting the pollies?

I heard from Beecanbee recently, who keeps Apis cerana, and in his experience the robbing is by the mellifera. The experience of Atherton Tablelands folk though is that cerana will rob out the smaller weaker native bees.  His researcher friend was not available, who has run experiements with AI to see if the cerana and mellifera will cross breed, but he doesn't think this happens in nature.  And let's think of our beekeeper brother Beecanbee who is from an earthquake affected area of Japan in Chiba.

Lone
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Lone
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« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2011, 12:13:52 AM »

G'day folks,

I am reeling a bit still from my experience with politics.  I had to call Mr K's office a couple more times to get this phone appointment time but apparently he has 500 people a day wanting to talk to him and they were too busy.  There is someone in the office though who has been dealing with the asian bee issue.  They said to send her another email, which I've just done.  They told me he'd attended the beekeeper's meeting in Canberra, so I was pleased to hear that.   I saw him on the weekend at a concert and he was adamant that I get a phone interview time with him.  I don't fancy the battle with his staff again but I reluctantly said I'd try. 
There was a good article in the North Queensland Register last week 
http://nqr.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/agribusiness-and-general/general/why-the-asian-bee-must-be-stopped/2099695.aspx?storypage=0
This does help to explain some things like whether they interbreed with apis mellifera.  It sounds as though the drones mate but the sperm is not fertile.  I assume this decreases the viability of the queen.
I am also a little upset at the thought our little native bees could be robbed out or taken over by the larger apis cerana.
My brother is a mathematician.  I asked him how many colonies of bees there would be in one year and 5 years given they swarm 5 times a year.  He told me 32 in one year and 33,554,432 in 5 years.  Of course there are lots of variables, but there is no doubt the spread will be rapid if nothing is done to control them.

Lone
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yantabulla
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« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2011, 03:41:59 AM »

This website

http://www.securefoodsavebees.com/index.html

has lots of info about what we can do in relation to the cerana issue
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westmar
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« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2011, 10:48:12 PM »

hi
   i got a email from QUEENSLAND BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION.
                                                                                   THE STORY ON ASIAN BEE ERADICATION WILL BE ON ABC 7.30 REPORT TO NIGHT.AND A EXTENDED VERSION ON ABC LANDLINE ON SUNDAY 10 TH APRIL
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Lone
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« Reply #35 on: April 06, 2011, 07:45:01 AM »

It looks like there is some light on the horizon.

http://senatormacdonald.org/media705.html
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philinacoma
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« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2011, 11:21:02 AM »

Lets hope.
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josethayil
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« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2011, 12:05:41 AM »

Hi, I am a new member to this forum. I am currently keeping bees in New Zealand. I used to keep Cerana and Mellifera in India before.

As far as I can say. The type of cerana you guys have got in Australia will swarm a lot and make small colonies. Not very good for honey production but good for pollination(More than 70 percent of cropes which need bee pollination in India is pollinated by Apis cerana. A different strain of cerana from what you have in Australia).

The robbing issue goes both ways. The stronger Cerana colony will rob a weak Mellifera colony which is near by and a stronger Mellifera colony will rob a weak Cerana colony near by.

Cerana and Mellifera cannot interbreed. They will mate with each other, but the resulting offsprings are always diploid drones which are killed by the worker bees in the hive when the eggs hatch.

The case of solomon islands is probably the cerana which was introduced did carry varroa with them and thats what would have killed the mellifera. This would have made the spread of cerana much easier. But in Australia, cerana does not carry varroa at the moment. So it will be hard for them to replace mellifera colonies which are usually stronger and larger than cerana colonies.

Cerana does nest in a lot of different locations which are not usually prefered by mellifera. So if they are not controlled, they will spread very rapidly. Competition for food sources can be a problem between mellifera and cerana in places where food sources are scarce, but usually cerana does not forage the same distance as mellifera. So mellifera has an advantage in that.

As far as i can say, if Australia stays free of varroa, you will not have a big problem with cerana. But if Australia gets varroa, then most of the feral mellifera colonies can get wiped out and this will give cerana a boost because the cerana can then utilise the empty space left behind by mellifera and resources. This could create problems in honey production industry because the commercial mellifera hives will need to be treated agaianst varroa for survivaland you dont get much honey from the strain of cerana you have in Australia. At the same time cerana will thrive and pollination by feral bees(cerana) may not be a problem.
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