Important Notice Varroa Mite Incursion Update

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Key Achievements

AHBIC’s inaugural meeting was held on 11 February 1998, and since then, we have been working hard to ensure the long-term economic viability, security and prosperity of Australia’s honey bee industry.

Listed below are some of our achievements to date, and we are looking forward to continuing our work with members to advocate for, and promote the importance of, Australia’s honey bee industry.

Biosecurity

  1. Managed three separate exotic pest incursions into Australia since its inception. Small Hive Beetle(2002), Asian Bees in Cairns (2007), Varroa Jacobsoni (2016). This has been the most exotic incursions in any equivalent period in Australian honey bee history.
  2. Assisted with the response to exotic bee arrivals in Australia, e.g. Apis cerana, A.dorsata, A.Ê florea and Bumblebees. These are distinct from incursions in that they were found and determined not to have spread at all.
  3. Implemented a comprehensive early warning system in the NBPSP (National Bee Pest Surveillance Program). This is one arm of the newly developed National Bee Biosecurity Program (NBBP). The NBPSP built on the Port Surveillance Program which AHBIC and the Department of Agriculture in Canberra put in place in 2000.
  4. Implemented the second arm of the NBBP, the National Biosecurity Code of Practice. This is the largest change in the control on endemic disease since EFB entered Australia.
  5. Joined both Animal Health Australia (AHA) and Plant Health Australia (PHA) to improve the ability of the honey bee industry to respond to exotic pest issues. Managed the transition out of AHA and continued improved relationships with PHA and pollination dependant industries to continue effective exotic pest response management.
  6. Arranged the shelf registration of treatments for Varroa Mite in preparation for an incursion of the exotic pest. Currently there are four different treatments registered.
  7. Managed development of education content for the honey bee industry on the management and control of endemic and exotic pests.These include:a: Contingency Plan
    b: Bee Aware Website
    c: Transition to Management Plans
    d: Biosecurity Manual for Beekeepers
    e: Industry Biosecurity Plan for the Honey Bee Industry
    f: Biosecurity Online Training (BOLT)
  8. Attempted to enact the re-categorisation of Varroa Mite. . while unsuccessful, the re-categorisation has the potential to reduce costs to the honey bee industry associated with any emergency response by 30%.
  9. Worked with the Australian Government for improved biosecurity controls regarding honey bee queen imports into Australia and were responsible for the implementation of a protocol for the importation of drone bee semen. Currently under review.

Structural

  1. Established and bedded down AHBIC as the Peak Honeybee Industry body in Australia. In the process it consolidated four separate national peak bodies into one honey bee industry representative voice.
  2. AHBIC, through B-QUAL, has updated the program as an industry organisation to facilitate the quality production of honey bee products and underpin quality Australian products to secure export and domestic markets.
  3. Established the Australian Queen Bee Breeding Program (AQBBP) to develop and distribute quality honey bee genetics to the whole industry.
  4. Set up various communication channels with various (40+) government bodies.

Marketing

  1. Has managed many public media events over time to both protect and promote the honey bee industry.
  2. Organised and ran the 3rd Australian Bee Congress, which is planning to return a profit to the honey bee industry.
  3. Bid for and won, then subsequently organised and ran the 40th International Apimondia in Melbourne 2007. This event actively promoted Australian Beekeeping, took more than five years of concerted effort and returned over $200,000 to the honey bee industry.

Communications

  1. Reported on AHBIC’s accomplishments and progress since its inception. AHBIC sends out the annual report to all voluntary contributors who request it.
  2. Produced a free monthly newsletter available to any honey bee industry participants upon request.
  3. Promoted the use of the Bee Connected phone app to improve communication between crop farmers and beekeepers to alleviate chemical poisoning events.

Education

  1. Instigated and continues to be involved in updating accredited Certificate Level III and Skill Sets Training in Beekeeping.

Trade

  1. Opened the export market for live bees to the USA for Australian beekeepers. Unfortunately, export to the USA ceased when the Asian Bee incursion occurred, however action is being taken it re-open trade.
  2. Helped Western Australia and Tasmania export packaged bees to Canada and re-open the Canadian market to queen bees from eastern Australia. We have managed to maintain these markets in Canada.
  3. Helped industry by liaising with government on Free Trade Agreements and keeping current honey export markets open and assisting with development of additional markets.