Australian cockatoos versus feral bees

May 8th, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
Australian cockatoos versus feral bees
Research
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Humans are not always the cause of animal decline in the wild. Sometimes species might become threatened because of the competition with other animals. Very good example is the relation between cockatoos and feral bees in Australia. The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) was introduced to Australia in the 19th century. Bees represent the key part of every ecosystem because they pollinate plants. However, in some time this insect compete with native fauna. And that’s how black cockatoos start losing their tree cavities and food sources.

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Feral bees have become a real disaster. Today, they are found throughout much of Western Australia. Not every tree cavity is good for nesting and if we consider that there are not many cavities at all then it’s quite obvious that every potential nesting site is precious. The most affected parrot species are Baudin’s cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus baudinii), Red-tailed cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Carnabys cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) and Glossy cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami).

Fortunately, researchers found that hanging of polyethelene pipe artificial nest hollows is a successful alternative for some bird species because bees don’t occupy them. However, this is not a perfect solution any better hasn‘t been found. Using of insecticides would be probably efficient but is too risky for managed hives. What is more, public is quite sensitive to the use of chemicals.

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Title photo:  (c) Peter Campbell. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

 

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