Apis cerana occurs across south and southeastern Asia up to Russia in the north. Its natural distribution extends to Japan and stretches as far west as Afghanistan (Fig. 2). Similar to Apis mellifera, there are many subspecies of Apis cerana. These subspecies tolerate a wide range of temperatures from cold, temperate, to tropical ecosystems.

Apis cerana was introduced intentionally into Papua New Guinea in the late 1970s. Subsequently, Apis cerana has continued to expand its range into the Solomon Islands and Australia. The Australian government has begun educational programs to teach the identification of Apis cerana, and destruction of identified wild nests is common practice in efforts to cease its spread within the country. However, the success of these programs has been limited and Apis cerana seems to be well established in tropical and subtropical Queensland (northeastern Australia).