Beekeepers are a step closer to protecting themselves from the devastating Varroa mite, with a new test likely to allow imports of honey bee semen from resistant breeding stock without putting the industry at risk from another pest – Africanised bees.
The potentially devastating Large African Hive Beetles are the latest bee pests in the spotlight, as the industry continues efforts to identify threats and prepare for their potential arrival in Australia.
Beekeepers are being urged to monitor their hives closely after mating flights following research showing that the so-called ‘silent killer’ Nosema Apis can be sexually transmitted from infected drones to queens. Nosema is a highly infectious gut fungus spread mainly through infected faeces, and is found throughout Australia. It gives bees dysentery, reduces their lifespan, and can cause queens to stop laying eggs – which can ultimately lead to the collapse of the colony.
Over recent years the number of beekeepers in Australia has increased markedly in both urban and regional areas. They now have access to a wealth of information about keeping bees and honey bee biosecurity with the release of the book The Australian Beekeeping Guide. This book was previously published under the title Beekeeping in 1991.
The Honey Bee and Pollination R&D Program - Beekeepers are being urged to consider the use of screened bottom boards, after a study revealed they had no impact on the productivity of the hive compared to conventional bottom boards.
The Honey Bee and Pollination R&D Program - Small hive beetles are rapidly emerging as a major pest to Australia’s beekeeping industries, costing Queensland alone a minimum of $2.7 million annually from hive losses and ruined honey.