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Hive Of Activity To Protect Bees From Exotic Threats

10 August 2015

Bees have never been more popular or important and the Andrews Labor Government is working to protect them from exotic pests and diseases that threaten our $90 million honey industry.

The big threat is from the parasitic varroa mite, a pest carried by the Asian honey bee that can kill whole colonies of Victorian honey bees if left unmanaged.

Australia remains varroa mite free and our status is attributed to our best practice biosecurity efforts at keeping this economically devastating threat away from our shores.

Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, today joined bee keeper expert Russell Goodman, to inspect the front line in bee protection, close to the Port of Melbourne in Spotswood.

Sentinel hives and swarm catch boxes are strategically positioned at other high risk incursion points including Port Melbourne, Geelong, Hastings and Portland and are regularly monitored for any sign of unwanted pests who may arrive on the many overseas ships that pass nearby.

August will see the start of this year’s pollination of Victoria’s $500 million almond crop, with bees on the move across the state as they head north to help out.

A team of 187 beekeepers also help protect our bees from the threat of exotic pests and diseases. The hives are funded by the Government in partnership with the Plant Health Australia’s National Bee Surveillance Program.

For those honey bee enthusiasts, an updated and revised version of the Australian Beekeeping Guide is also now available.

Produced by a partnership between the Government, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, and Horticulture Innovation Australia, the guide was first published in 1925 and has been revised many times since to ensure that novice and experienced beekeepers alike can benefit from expertise in all facets of apiculture.

Co-author Russell Goodman is a bee keeping legend in Victoria, he produced a version of the guide in the 1970s and has been working with the honey bee industry on behalf of the Victorian Government for over forty years.

The guide is available for download free of cost and is available at www.rirdc.gov.auExternal Link .

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford

“Our honey industry is worth $90 million a year, and also contributes to the pollination of up to $6 billion worth of crops across the farming sector.”

“These bee hives look simple but they play a critical role in safeguarding this multi-million dollar industry from exotic pests and diseases.”

“With more than 4,000 registered bee keepers in Victoria its critical they get the right information to help keep their hives free of pests and diseases – that’s why the Australian Beekeeping guide is such an important resource.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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