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Newsletter Edition - December 2023

  • Bee quick: New honey bee and pollination development grants to boost the industry

    AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program Industry Development Grants are now open for the 2023-24 application period.

    The grants seek to expand industry understanding, knowledge and skills to drive the Australian honey bee and pollination industry into the future. This year there is a particular focus on supporting Early Career Researchers (ECR) on their research journey.

    Annelies McGaw, Manager, Research AgriFutures Australia said the industry development grants were introduced to address current challenges.

    “It’s been a tough few years for the industry. The 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires, the floods in Northern NSW earlier in the year, and now biosecurity threats like varroa mite have resulted in significant hive losses, with potentially devastating implications for the nation’s agricultural sectors and food security resources.”

    “While research and development will play a role in rebuilding the industry, participation and innovation are key to ensure the profitability and sustainability of the industry,” said Ms McGaw.

    Applications for the Industry Development Grants (up to $7,000) may focus on, but are not limited to, research funding including PhD top-ups, industry body development, personal development or travel.

    “Ultimately applicants must clearly demonstrate a strong benefit for the industry at large and not just to one organisation or individual,” said Ms McGaw.

    Applications must also address one or more of the strategies outlined in the Strategic Plan.

    These include to:

    • Identify and develop technology for improved hive performance
    • Increase capacity within research community and future industry leaders
    • Improve understanding of nutrition best practice and disease interaction
    • Improve understanding of the benefits of honey and develop chain traceability
    • Improve understanding of pollination strategies that impact crop yields and improve hive health
    • Improve understanding of floral resources as assets for the Australian honey bee industry.

    For more information on application requirements, evaluation criteria and Terms of Reference visit: https://agrifutures.com.au/funding-opportunity/honey-bee-and-pollination-program-industry-development-grants

    Applications close Monday, 5 February 2024 at 12 noon (AEDT).

  • AHBIC Industry Update 52 – 548 days of response

    Varroa Update

    Beekeeper reporting to the DPI continues across areas of NSW where we expect Varroa to be present, there is a steady increase in regions south of Sydney and extensions from Kempsey.

    The heat map shows Varroa continues to extend its spread beyond the known Varroa management zones. AHBIC encourages beekeepers to monitor for mites in your hives and keep up to date with the risks of Varroa near you by checking the heat map.

    CCEPP Update

    The NSW DPI and a working group of CCEPP members incorporated feedback from the previous CCEPP meeting and re-drafted the Response Plan Version 4 – Transition to Management. This final draft was presented by NSW DPI for consideration at the CCEPP on Tuesday 19th December. All parties understood the urgency for National agreement, CCEPP members were generally supportive of the new plan with some recommendations to be implemented and agreed in an out of session agreement, this will then be forwarded to NMG for final agreement mid January 2024.

    Whilst the process to reach agreement in the CCEPP is frustratingly slow, AHBIC is determined to ensure the best possible outcomes for our honey bee industry whilst negotiating with the other 25 parties. We will continue to represent the National interest, guided by the AHBIC executive and our 10 member bodies expectations at the CCEPP and NMG.

    AHBIC Christmas Closure

    Final day of operation 22nd December 2023, returning 15th January 2024. Limited correspondence will continue during this break.

    We take this opportunity to wish all our readers, industry stakeholders and of course the hard-working Australian beekeepers, a Safe and Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

    Chemical Treatment Table


    The chemical treatment table will also be updated on a stand alone page from our website please refer to the most up to date version regularly via AHBIC Varroa Treatment Table – Australian Honey Bee Industry Council

    AHBIC, its employees, executive and consultants expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person in respect of anything, and the consequences of anything, done or omitted to be done in reliance, whether wholly, partly, upon the whole or any part of the contents of this industry update document. 

    You can reach out to AHBIC via:

    Varroa Coordinator

    Bianca Giggins


    0402 467 780  




  • CEO Update December 2023

    CEO report

    AHBIC’s time is still being consumed with the Varroa response.  We have been focused on getting agreement to the transition to management plan to enable the rollout of broad scale training for beekeepers as quickly as possible.  We are hopeful for CCEPP agreement in December and final sign-off from NMG in January.

    AHBIC has been strongly advocating for training and education across the country, boots on the ground to support beekeepers across the country and a number of other activities including a national heat map, Coloss survey, updating of the CoP, queen breeding workshops and a queen breeding sector capacity and capability report.

    Achieving agreement to the plan is slow as there are 26 votes from 26 parties that all have their individual requirements and needs.

    Plant Health Australia AGM and associated meetings

    I attended the PHA AGM in Canberra in November and met with several other plant industries.  We had presentations on a number of topics across the week.  DAFF presented on the proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL) which created robust discussion discussions from industries.

    Unfortunately, it appears the consultation from the department is not considering if the levy should be applied but more around how it is applied and collected.  Despite significant push back from AHBIC and many other industries it appears that it will be implemented in July.  This will mean that an additional 10% increase in the honey levy is likely to be applied from July 2024.

    Bee Connected App

    In partnership with Croplife the Bee Connected app was relaunched in Canberra with some significant improvements making the app more beekeeper friendly.  I encourage all beekeepers who do pollination or place hives near crops that are likely to be sprayed to check out the new look app https://beeconnected.org.au/.

    Red Dwarf Honey Bee incursion in WA

    The first Red Dwarf Honey Bee (RDHB) detection was in March 2023 at Dampier in Western Australia.  There has been a total of 12 nests discovered to date.  Euvarroa sinhai has been detected on many of the RDHB’s but has not been found on European honey bees yet.  Euvarroa is a relative of Varroa destructor (the species found at Newcastle).  It is unclear if this species of varroa can survive and reproduce on European honey bees with mixed reports in peer reviewed papers.  Continual surveillance by DPIRD and DAFF is being conducted to delimit the incursion and monitor European honey bees in the area with 12 swarms being detected so far.

    Imported Honey Fighting Fund

    The fund has been receiving good support from beekeepers with a pool of money to start the testing of honey.  The subcommittee will meet to decide on the specific testing protocols that will be used to ensure we can make the money stretch as far as possible without compromising the data.  We have been gathering honey from different locations across the country ready for testing.

    We have been working with DAFF to improve testing protocols but also discussing the potential for DWV to enter Australia through imported honey.  There is some scientific work being conducted to determine if DWV can remain viable in honey.

    Standards Australia and the International Standards Organisation

    As previously discussed AHBIC has initiated the Australian membership of the international committee for honey standards.  The Australian committee has met several times and worked through the international documents.  Good progress in being made and when the committee is comfortable with final draft we will share the documents with wider industry for consultation.

    AHBIC thanks the work of Liz Barbour who has been feeding the comments into the international committee.  The Australian committee has revied the international royal jelly standard and are in the process of agreeing to circulate through industry to see if we will adopt here in Australia.

    The Month Ahead

    It has been an incredibly tough year for beekeepers across the country and perhaps one that many want to forget.  AHBIC will be taking a break over Christmas, however we will continue to work to ensure agreement to the T2M plan and support beekeepers as best we can.  The new year will continue to provide challenges for our industry, but AHBIC will work as hard as possible to minimise the challenges and help our industry get through the next couple of years.

    I wish everyone a Safe and Merry Christmas.

    Danny LeFeurve





  • Chair Report – December 2023

    Acting Chair – Jon Lockwood

    The last two months have been another very busy period for AHBIC.

    Before I was involved as an executive of AHBIC I did not realise the importance and the volume of work required of the organisation, we are lucky to have our CEO and Varroa Coordinator passionately working hard for our industry. Acting Chair for the last few months, has highlighted to me the intensity of this roll, I give acknowledgement and credit to the work of our current Chair and previous AHBIC Chairs.

    Transition to Management and CCEPP

    As we are moving toward a formal transition to management phase of the response, NSW DPI have distributed over 43000 miticide strips to over 140 beekeepers that have formally identified mites at threshold levels. Being that Bayvarol is the treatment being issued, at 4 strips per hive, this equates to over 10,000 beehives being treated for Varroa destructor management. NSW DPI have stated that the free supply of treatments will cease in the near future.

    There are reports from several suppliers that various treatment options have arrived in the country, and they are readily available for sale to NSW beekeepers. Currently available chemicals are supplied under emergency use permit with New Zealand labelling until they become fully registered products under the APVMA and eventually will be produced and provided with Australian labelling. Our AHBIC Industry Updates have a comprehensive table of approved chemical treatments which is reviewed regularly to reflect changes that take effect.

    Please adhere to the terms of the emergency permit, the permit outlines the lawful product use. Many questions around treatment methods using oxalic acid are being asked from industry. Please note, AHBIC are actively engaged in work to push the registration process and will be publishing a factsheet explaining details regarding oxalic acid in the coming weeks when further information is available.

    The CCEPP will meet again on the 19th of December. The transition to management package is close to being approved after a rigorous drafting process to get it right, it is hoped that agreement unanimously will soon be reached by all parties as soon as possible. Education will be a large focus, with aims to begin roll out Nationally in the new year. AHBIC is expecting all beekeepers in Australia will have an opportunity to access and participate in the training content and materials to upskill those willing to learn.

    Monitoring and State Borders

    Monitoring may feel like a laborious task but is the new way of life in Australian beekeeping. Whether it is to identify a new infestation or determine varroa numbers in your hives, regular and consistent monitoring by alcohol wash, soapy water wash or sugar rolling is now a crucial activity for beekeepers here in Australia.

    There are reports from industry the State boarder restrictions are having adverse effects on business continuity. Bees not being able to cross boarders impacts beekeepers that would usually relocate, seeking good conditions and carrying out their regular business activities. AHBIC are regularly involved in State boarder conversations and advocate for the best business outcomes while being respectful to each of the jurisdictional biosecurity protocols.

    Honey Production

    Honey prices are concerningly low. With exceptions from some areas, our National production has reportedly been high, creating a surplus of product domestically and unfortunately importations remain constant, AHBIC continues to actively address this issue.

    Despite a very tough year of challenges and uncertainty for a lot of our industry, I sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas and hope the New Year to come will bring you and your family prosperity.

    Jon Lockwood
    Acting Chair


  • Member Bodies Conference Dates 2024

    Set your calendars, find your state association and member body below, make sure to support your annual conference.

    Association Date
    New South Wales Apiarists Association 23 & 24 May – Wagga Wagga, NSW
    Tasmanian Beekeepers Association 31 May & 1 June – Launceston, TAS
    Queensland Beekeepers Association 11 & 12 July – Townsville, QLD
    South Australian Apiarists Association TBA
    Victorian Apiarists Association 4th, 5th and 6th of June-Wonthaggi, VIC
    Australian Honey Bee Industry Council – AGM 10th July – Townsville, QLD
    Honey Packers and Marketers Association TBA
    Australian Queen Bee Breeders Association TBA
    Bee Industry Council of WA

    17th Asian Apiculture Association Conference and AAA Apitherapy Forum 2024

    Field Day Only in 2024, TBA

    12 – 14 June 2024 – Esplanade Fremantle, Perth WA

    Crop Pollination Association of Australia Inc. 22 May 2024, Wagga Wagga, venue TBA


  • Honey Glazed Ham

    Everyone loves a 100% Australian  honey glazed ham on Christmas day!


    1 x 2kg ham

    1/2 cup Cloves

    12  Pineapple pieces/slices

    12 Maraschino cherries


    ¾ cup 100% Australian honey

    ¾ cup pineapple juice

    1 tsp mustard

    Prep time: 20 minutes

    Cook time: 30 minutes

    Difficulty: Easy

    Serves: 12 (based on a 2kg ham)



    While ham is baking, place glaze ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until the mixture is thick.
    Approximately 30 minutes before the ham is ready, spoon on the honey glaze mixture and decorate with pineapple slices, cherries and cloves.
    Return to the oven for 30 minutes.

    Serve sliced.

    Source: Cooking with Honey, Queensland Beekeepers’ Association Incorporated.

  • B-Trace

    The specially designed app will assist in maintaining hive record information that satisfies the requirements of the National Biosecurity Code of Practice. The program is intended for small commercial and recreational beekeepers who sell honeybee products direct to:

    • Famers Markets
    • Direct to consumers
    • Food stalls
    • Boutique shops, such as Bakeries, Fruit and Vegetable, Delicatessens, Restaurants and similar

    The low annual fee includes the use of the hive management app and an annual desk audit.

    For further information go to www.btrace.com.au

  • AHBIC Industry Update 51 – 537 days of response

    Varroa Update

    The total number of infected premises across NSW has risen to 396. The heat map has had some gradual increases across southwestern Sydney, Central Coast, North of the Hunter and also in the Kempsey region.

    In some instances, the heat map has extended beyond the known Varroa management zones. Stay up to date with the risks of Varroa near you by checking the heat map.

    NSW DPI are still supplying chemical treatments, but have stated that this arrangement will be phased out soon. The ability for NSW beekeepers to purchase chemical treatments from retail suppliers is gradually increasing as stocks begin to arrive in the country.

    Monitoring hives & Reporting results

    Beekeepers looking for information on alcohol wash method and equipment details can visit either this Rod Bourke Bee Biosecurity Officer VIDEO , the NSW DPI Varroa webpage or the BEE PEST BLITZ website where all state jurisdiction reporting lines are listed.

    Beekeepers are reminded at the very least, complete your monitoring and report every 16 weeks. If you detect more than 6 Varroa mites, you must treat all the hives at the premises using a method approved by the APVMA, complying with all label directions and permit conditions no later than 14 days after the date on which Varroa mite is detected.

    It is critical that beekeepers then perform mite monitoring as soon as practicable after treatment application to determine efficacy of treatment. It is our collective goal as beekeepers to keep our bees healthy so that our hives do not become overrun with mites, this is why monitoring for mites will be at the forefront of management of Varroa.

    Treatment Registration Progress

    AHBIC has been working with NSW DPI and the APVMA as well many manufactures to progress as many management tools for registration as possible.  Whilst we do not have visibility on all applications submitted, through conversations with manufactures and resellers we are aware of a number of registration applications that have either been submitted or are close to submission, this includes:

    • Bayvarol
    • Oxalic Acid (fogging and dribble)
    • Formic Pro
    • A number of Oxalic Acid strip products
    • BeeGate
    • Apitraz
    • A formic acid + Oxalic Acid mix in a dribble form

    Processing applications through APVMA is a slow process and typically takes 8-9 months, if the application is complete on submission.  After lobbying from AHBIC, the APVMA has agreed to prioritise any Varroa registrations but the process will still take 6 months at best. AHBIC will continue to encourage manufactures to submit registration applications ensuring beekeepers have as many options for management as possible.

    Chemical Treatment Table


    AHBIC, its employees, executive and consultants expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person in respect of anything, and the consequences of anything, done or omitted to be done in reliance, whether wholly, partly, upon the whole or any part of the contents of this industry update document. 

    You can reach out to AHBIC via:

    Varroa Coordinator

    Bianca Giggins


    0402 467 780  




  • B-QUAL

    How does B-QUAL certification benefit my business?

    • Product integrity
    • Quality Assurance
    • HACCP based certification
    • Regulatory compliance
    • Industry best practice
    • Biosecurity
    • Access to domestic and export markets

    B-QUAL Certification also enables an enterprise to market its product under the B-QUAL logo to show that it meets the B-QUAL Industry Standards.

    Complete your training at home at your own pace.

    For more information and to obtain a Certification Information Pack, contact the B-QUAL Certification team.

    B-QUAL Pty Ltd
    Phone 0404 381 942
    Email: admin@bqual.com.au

  • Friends of AHBIC

    If you aren’t already a Friend of AHBIC, we welcome you to join our group of organisations and individuals who are supporting Australia’s national beekeeping industry that supports you.