We've run a hive full of stories here (links below) about Honey Bees and how their decline can adversely impact agriculture. However Australia, due to its island-like border security has, to date, fortunately been spared the devastating industry losses experienced elsewhere. But the local industry is accutely aware this could change suddenly unless it remains vigilant.
The apiarists who managed the 673,000 registered hives in Australia, producing over 30,000 tonnes of honey annually, worth about $50 million AUD, have had keen eyes on a parliamentary committee who recently handed down their report on the bee industry.
The committee's chair Dick Adams said, "It's a little bit too simple to say without bees there's no food but there's a lot less food if you don't have a good bee population." Bee Industry Threat
The spokesman for the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) released a media statement saying, "The first year of the introduction of varroa destructor mite into Australia could cost the Australian economy as much as $1.7 billion, as a result of the loss of pollination services and the flow on costs to the horticultural and plant industries"
Worth of Bees
Bees are estimated to $1.2 billion/year in pollination alone. The parliamentary committee's deputy chairman, said that, "Taking into account all plant-based industries and wool, meat and dairy production it is estimated honey bees contribute directly to between $4 and $6 billion worth of agricultural production,"
With all this at stake the industry welcomed "the major thrust of the report's 26 recommendations", which included: a renewed commitment in the early warning system for varroa destructor, government support for education and training, plus a new Quarantine Queen Bee Breeding facility. As well as $50 million to be provided to Pollination Australia for research into biosecurity threats and the future of the industry.
• Honeybees Police Airport Air Quality
• Who is Killing Nature's Precious Bees?
• Where Did the Bees Go?
• Colony Collapse Disorder Arrives in the UK
•Â Saving the Bees
• The Latest on the Disappearing Honeybee Mystery
Photo by: AFP's Saul Loeb, found with the ABC story.