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Newsletter Edition - January 2024

  • AHBIC Industry Update 54 – 590 days of response

    Control Order NSW 

    The new Control Order 2024 has gone live, effective from 1st February 2024.  Disappointingly neither AHBIC nor NSWAA was afforded the opportunity to provide feedback on the control order prior to it being published.  We have identified and understand the significant concerns beekeepers have with the order and we are providing feedback into the IMT demanding them to amend the order as soon as possible.  We have requested that they improve consultation with industry moving forward on any significant changes in the response. 

    Response Activities NSW 

    In NSW the DPI is responsible for communications to all registered NSW beekeepers, make sure your details are up to date for information on upcoming community meetings and expressions of interest for training events.  

    In NSW the varroa heat map continues to provide an overview of the DPI confirmed spread of varroa in NSW. Recent additions have been made to the heat map with infested premises now showing presence further south of Sydney, Katoomba, Scone and to the west of Orange in the Central West NSW. 


    DPI are no longer supplying miticide strips to beekeepers. For a list of suppliers of APVMA approved treatments check the permits below. (AHBIC understands not all listed suppliers will have stock of the treatment products.) 

    Formic Pro/Bayvarol strips/Apistan: https://permits.apvma.gov.au/PER94055.PDF 

    Apivar/Apitraz: https://permits.apvma.gov.au/PER94153.PDF 

    Response Activities VIC 

    No Varroa mite has been detected in Victoria. The DECCA Apiary Team are undertaking additional surveillance via sentinel hives and swarm catch boxes along their border with NSW and in the Sunraysia region in VIC. Victorian Control Area Order remains in place, preventing movement of bees and bee products across the border from any state or territory without a permit. VIC beekeepers are reminded that queen bees from NSW are NOT permitted entry into VIC. And surveillance requirements for Varroa mite are still in place for all Victorian beekeepers. 

    Slowing the Spread 

    AHBIC encourages all beekeepers across Australia to be vigilant in continuing to take an active role in slowing the spread by regularly monitoring hives for presence of varroa through alcohol/soapy water washing/sugar rolling, reporting results and undertaking approved treatment intervention if at threshold. 

    To learn more about alcohol washing check out the nationally agreed resource: https://www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/beepestblitz/ 

    Chemical Treatment Table 

    The chemical treatment table will continue to be updated on our website please refer to the most up to date version regularly via  https://honeybee.org.au/ahbic-varroa-treatment-table/ The most recent version is dated 2nd February 2024. 


     You can reach out to AHBIC via:  

    Varroa Coordinator  

    Bianca Giggins  

    0402 467 780 


    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. 




  • CEO Update January 2024

    Happy New Year for what I hope, will be a better year for our industry.

    2024 will be another big year for AHBIC, doing the best we can for industry with the resources we have got.  This year will be packed with activities including transition to management, importing honey testing, levies and strong lobbying to the government to try and get a better deal for our beekeepers.

    Since our December newsletter, Bianca and I have each had short break over Christmas/New Year, in order to recharge, ready for what will be another intense year.  As a result, our readership would have noticed a short pause in some of our regular AHBIC communication, we are pleased to be back, with the new year well upon us for our January newsletter drop.

    Varroa Response

    On December 19th, 2023, the CCEPP met to discuss the response plan v4 (T2M) and made some recommended amendments for out of session approval with the aim of a NMG meeting mid-January for final approval.  We are now late January and waiting for the NMG meeting which will likely be scheduled second week of February.

    The core activities in the T2M plan remain relatively unchanged from what has been presented to AHBIC’s member bodies previously.  There is likely to be a significant debate at the NMG meeting regarding timeframes of T2M.  AHBIC is lobbying strongly for exceptional circumstances, to be applied to some activities for extention to 24 months, this is beyond what is written into The Deed, which states T2M activity wont exceed 12 months.

    CRC for Pollination Security

    Unfortunately for our industry the CRC for pollination security bid was not successful this round.  Hopefully the core bid group can maintain momentum and energy to bid again in the upcoming rounds.  This leaves our industry reliant on the existing R&D funding mechanisms which is insufficient now Varroa has arrived.

    Industry statistics

    Current data review on national hive numbers has shown our industry has increased by 200,000 hives over the last 3 years.  About half operated by recreational beekeepers and half by commercial beekeepers.  The number of commercial beekeepers has remained relatively unchanged at around 1,800 but the recreational sector has increased from around 28,000 in 2019 to approximately 47,000 registered recreational beekeepers in 2023.

    Interestingly our industry continues to import significant amounts of honey.  The volume has been consistent at around 8,000t per annum for the last decade with exports declining to only 3,000t in 2023.  The volume of honey exported is now at the lowest levels since the 1960’s perhaps demonstrating our lack of competitiveness on the global stage with pricing (current global honey commodity price at $3.80 AUD).  2023 also recorded a national levied honey production of 17,000t, significantly down on the long-term average of 20,000t.

    Undoubtably imported honey is influencing farm gate prices but is it the only influence? Our industry has increased hive numbers by 200,000 hives over the last 3 years, yet we are recording low notional levied honey production and the lowest export volumes on record.  Where is all the honey from the additional hives going? Clearly not through the established industry supply chain.  Perhaps direct to customers bypassing the levy system? If so, what influence is all the additional honey in the system having on honey pricing?  Either way, beekeepers and packers have sheds full of honey, supressing farm gate prices to unsustainable levels.

    Red Dwarf Honey Bee incursion in WA

    A total of 24 active colonies have now been identified and destroyed with an additional 9 abandoned nests found.  Euvarroa has been confirmed in 23 of the 24 colonies.  Surveillance on European honey bee colonies as not detected any Euvarroa at this stage.

    DIPIRD continues to send surveillance crews to Burrup Peninsula with the aim of determining the spread of the pest.

    The Month Ahead

    We are all eagerly awaiting the final NMG approval of the T2M plan, as once approved activities will start to ramp up.  We are acutely aware of the need for training and support, and we are doing all we can to work with the process for an outcome as quickly as possible.

    AHBIC has been maintaining involvement as ILO with the NSW varroa response, ILO in the AgVic team through regular response team meetings and a point of contact for the South Australian PIRSA team assisting their planning and preparations moving forward.



  • 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).

  • News on Proposed Levy Changes

    Industries Collectively Challenge Proposed Biosecurity Tax

    AHBIC has represented the Australian honey bee industry along with about 50 agricultural industry representative groups, by co-signing a joint letter which was sent to the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Agriculture Minister, expressing shared views and serious concerns about the proposed biosecurity tax that’s being imposed on agricultural producers. These groups represent the interests of levy-paying producers across the broad spectrum of agricultural commodities including grains, livestock, horticulture, forestry, seafood, etc.

    The final PDF can be viewed here!




  • AHBIC Industry Update 53 – 575 days of response

    CCEPP & NMG Update

    The CCEPP is in the process of circulating and finalising endorsement of Response Plan Version 4 – Transition to Management and forward to the NMG. We have been informed by the secretariat that the NMG will meet early February, until then we are all waiting for the plan to be approved and activated.

    Varroa Spread

    AHBIC encourages all beekeepers to continue to take an active role in slowing the spread by regularly monitoring hives for presence of varroa through alcohol/soapy water washing/sugar rolling, reporting results and undertaking approved treatments if at threshold. Through beekeepers reporting to the NSW DPI the varroa heat map continues to provide the best overview of the spread of varroa in NSW.

    Varroa detections around the Sydney basin has seen further spread to the south of Sydney.  There is now 53 confirmed new detections of varroa that have been reported across the GREEN (suppression) zone, with a further 11 within the GREEN zone awaiting laboratory confirmation. Of the confirmed 53 new infected premises, only 26 have been provided with chemical treatment from the department.

    Emergency Order

    The current NSW Emergency Order was extended toward the end of 2023 and is due to expire 31st January 2024. We are awaiting a change from this Emergency Order document to a Control Order in NSW which is consistent with the emergency response transition to management phase.

    Response Activities

    The response continues to demobilise with the majority of activities completed and field teams reducing.  47,060 hives have been euthanised during the response with disposal now completed.  All bait stations have now been decommissioned.

    Drone ballooning across the management zones continue to validate the surveillance technique with good success. Fipronil residue trials are continuing to determine if there are any residue effects on managed hives brought back into baited areas.

    Chemical Treatment Table

    The chemical treatment table will continue to be updated on our website please refer to the most up to date version regularly via AHBIC Varroa Treatment Table – Australian Honey Bee Industry Council. The most recent version is dated 10th January 2024.

    You can reach out to AHBIC via:

    Varroa Coordinator

    Bianca Giggins

    0402 467 780


    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.




  • AgriFutures Australia: New Publication

    Resilient beekeeping in the face of varroa

    To support the industry through the transition to management phase, AgriFutures Australia has invested in research to understand what we know and don’t know about varroa, and how it may react under Australian conditions.

    The project involved a literature review, a survey and interviews with experts to develop a proposed national strategy for the management of varroa and to identify knowledge gaps and the research required to help beekeepers live with varroa.

    AHBIC believes this publication is a valuable starting point in Australia’s transition to management of varroa.

    Access the AgriFutures publication here!

  • 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


  • 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

  • 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.