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Newsletter Edition - March 2023

  • 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.

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

  • 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

  • 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.

    BECOME A FRIEND

    OUR CURRENT FRIENDS

  • Sugar 4 Bees

    AHBIC in partnership with Sugar Australia have launched the Sugar 4 bees program to assist beekeepers affected by the Emergency Response.

    The first collection of Sugar 4 Bees took place in May, a second was completed in early August, we supplied sugar dust to several beekeepers with the help of the NSW DPI at Somersby.

     

    Mid August with the generous assistance of Ecrotek in Blayney, additional dust was supplied to beekeepers in the Gumble Purple zone. There are still numerous bags available for Gumble Beekeepers, please complete the form below to secure your collection, we will be in touch to finalise with you.

     

     

     

    Bianca Giggins is coordinating so if you are interested in registering for a collection, please complete the form below.

    The sugar dust will be in 1 tonne bulka bags. If beekeepers cannot safely accept 1 tonne bags, arrangements will need to be made for smaller sized collection.

    The dust is available to assist beekeepers maintain hive health whilst impacted by the current Varroa incursion. The sugar dust attracts moisture and will go solid if not used quickly.

    CLICK HERE to secure a collection.

     

     

     

     

     

  • CEO Update March 2023

    CEO Update

    Mad March has lived up to its reputation.  The Varroa response continues to grow in size, however the NSW DPI keep delivering their best effort to resource it and continue with eradication.  The executive came together in Canberra to hold an executive meeting and a strategic planning workshop.  I have been busy with CCEPP and NMG commitments along with meetings with Plant Health Australia, Department of Agriculture and CRC for pollination meetings this month.

    Varroa Response

    The response continues to find low level detections in the purple zones.  Whilst not unexpected it is slowly growing the red zones and encompassing more beekeepers and hives.  It is devastating for those caught in the red and purple zones.

    A focus on surveillance in the southern end of the Central Coast complex is underway to gain confidence there are no mites in the suburban areas of Sydney.  Tracing work and general blue zone surveillance also continues.

    Negotiations for permit framework has meant hives have been moved into the Nana Glen red zone to facilitate pollination on a one-way trip.  Compliance continues to be an important part of the response with additional compliance staff recruited into the response.  A greater focus on blue zone movement declarations and alcohol wash submissions will increase the amount of penalty notices issued.

    CRC for Pollination Security

    The first stage application for the CRC for Pollination Security has been submitted by the CRC bid team.  This has been a huge undertaking for the bid team to get the application in.  AHBIC was unable to support the bid through a partner declaration (a pledge of in-kind financial support) at the 11th hour due to concerns around how the application was written and how it reflected our industry.

    This was a tough decision for the executive to make as it has significant implications. It was the strong view of the executive that the application didn’t reflect our industry positively.  The clear goal of the CRC to find alternatives to honeybees for pollination also wasn’t in the best interest of creating a prosperous honey bee industry.  The AHBIC executive is willing to work with the CRC for Pollination Security in the future should the opportunity arise.  AHBIC did however provide a letter of support to the bid.

    The Month Ahead

    AHBIC is participating in the AgriFutures Levied Industry Forum to discuss common issues across industries and work on solutions with an opportunity to provide feedback to AgriFutures.  I will be attending the national biosecurity roundtable towards the end of March and a Forum in Dubbo on transitioning away from diesel.  We continue to meet with government to lobby for better pre-border testing of imported honey.

     

  • National Eucalypt Day – 23rd March 2023

    23 March 2023 is National Eucalypt Day!

    The honey bee industry in Australia has a deep connection to the eucalypt and more broadly the Myrtaceae family of which the eucalyptus belongs.

    National Eucalypt Day aims to raise awareness of eucalypts and celebrate the important place they hold in the hearts and lives of all Australians.

    Images: Catherine Cavallo

    This year, National Eucalypt Day turns 10!

    Eucalyptus trees have a complex flowering cycle, they bloom under very specific climatic conditions which can be unpredictable throughout the decades.

    Aussie beekeepers spend a lifetime reading the bush and assessing some of these factors to determine the next honey flow and produce some of the most unique honey in the world with our diverse tastes and colours direct from nature.

    Eucalypt Habitats

    From the harsh red centre to the wind-ravaged alps and the extreme climate of the tropical savanna, eucalypts have come to dominate almost all Australian landscapes. Where the climate is fair and the soil nutrient-rich, they grow tall, dense and straight, as forests. Against salt-laden coastal winds, they grow low, tough-leaved and gnarled, hunkered down around dunes. The eucalypts of the high plains adopt a similar strategy, with the smallest eucalypt species in the world nothing more than a creeping bush. On drier lands with reliable rainfall, eucalypt woodlands hold magnificent trees beloved by Australia’s pollinators. In the wet/dry climate of the tropical savanna woodlands, some eucalypt species even drop their leaves for the dry season.

    Australia boasts more floral sources for honey bees to forage on than any other country in the world and the vast majority of honey produced here comes from the wonderful Australian bush. Some of the best loved Australian honey flavours come from:
    Eucalyptus leucoxylon; Blue gum – light amber, choice forest honey from VIC, the south-eastern SA and south-western NSW.
    Eucalyptus diversicolor; Karri – amber honey from the forests of Western Australia.
    Eucalyptus melliodora; Yellow box – pale and sweet honey from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
    Eucalyptus macrorhyncha or globoidea; (plus many others) Red and White Stringy bark – strong flavoured, medium amber honey from forests in north-eastern VIC and throughout the Great Dividing Range NSW to QLD.

    Australia’s treasured eucalypts

    AHBIC encourages all honey lovers across Australia to check out the events happening near you in support of National Eucalypt Day.

    Why not take the time to get out into the great outdoors this weekend and appreciate our amazing Australian bush by taking a walk amongst the eucalypts in a trail at a National Park or State Forest near you!

  • Small Hive Beetle – Biosecurity Tasmania

    ​Moratorium on ​Opening Hives

    On 12 March 2023, Biosecurity Tasmania placed a moratorium on the opening of hives, harvest of honey and honeycomb, and movement of beekeeping equipment for any beekeepers that are in the 15km Bee Movement Restriction Area as declared in the General Biosecurity Direction. Initially, the moratorium will be in place until 31 March 2023. All beekeepers within the 15km Bee Movement Restriction Area are asked to avoid opening hives during this period.

    Current response information​

    Biosecurity Tasmania is currently investigating a confirmed detection of a single small hive beetle (SHB) in a guard hive located in the Devonport area.

    This detection does not mean that SHB is established in Tasmania. At this point there has been no further detections beyond the single guard hive.

    SHB, which originates from Africa, has been detected in all Australian states except the Northern Territory. In its larvae stage, SHB burrows into beehives consuming brood, pollen and honey, which can significantly damage the hive population and honey production.

    Tasmania’s Chief Plant Protection Officer, Andrew Bishop, has declared a General Biosecurity Direction, which establishes a 15 km Bee Movement Restriction Area around the detection site, and restricts the movement of bees and bee products within, into and out of the zone. 

    Use this inter​active map to find out if your apiary or any other property where hives are kept is within the Restricted Area: Bee Movement Restriction Area interactive map

    Biosecurity Tasmania has enacted emergency management protocols including extensive hive and site inspection within the Restricted Area. This approach is designed to protect the health of Tasmania’s bee population and our honey and pollination sectors.

    These restrictions do not affect honey movement and sale within the Restriction Area, provided it was harvested prior to 8 March and has been filtered to a maximum 2mm pore size.

    Hives and bee equipment originating outside of the Restriction Area may be able to transit through the Area (eg from Smithton to Launceston) under a group permit.​

    Small hive beetle

    ​​The small hive beetle, Aethina tumida (Murray), was discovered in hives at Richmond, New South Wales in late October 2002. It has subsequently been found in all Australian States except Western Australia. It has now been found in Tasmania. Prior to this date the Small Hive Beetle was not known to exist in Australia.

    Further information on the small hive beetle can be sourced on the ‘BeeAware’ webpage (now the go-to pest and disease reference site).
    The adult small hive beetle are broad flattened beetles about 5-7 mm long and dark brown to nearly black in colour. Larvae are elongate white grubs. Pupae are white to brown and are found in soil beneath the hive. From egg to adult takes 38-81 days with five generations a year. Adults and larvae inhabit hives where they feed on stored honey and pollen. Combs are damaged and brood killed; honey ferments and bubbles out of the cells. Damage is so severe where this pest occurs in the Western Hemisphere that thousands of hives are killed by it each year.

    Biosecurity Tasmania contact information

    Biosecurity Tasmania: (03) 6165 3777

    If you are inside the Bee Movement Restriction Area and have moved your hives or removed any elements of a hive since 8 March 2023 or in the four weeks prior, please notify Biosecurity Tasmania and provide updated location details.

    If you believe you must open a hive for any reason, please contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 6165 3777

  • Company Directors Course Entry Pathways

    1. Company Directors Course

    AgriFutures Australia is committed to supporting the people who are driving, and will drive, the future prosperity of Australian rural industries and communities.

    AgriFutures Australia currently has an opportunity for key stakeholders to participate in the Australian Institute of Company Directors – Company Directors CourseTM Online.


    Applications are now open and close  Friday, 14 April 2023 at 5pm (AEST) .

    AgriFutures Australia is offering individuals from the following groups the opportunity to participate in the Company Directors Course Online:

    • Individuals working in an AgriFutures Australia levied industry (chicken meat, export fodder, thoroughbred horses, honeybee and pollination, rice, ginger, tea tree oil, pasture seeds, kangaroo, buffalo, deer, goat fibre)
    • Individuals working in an emerging industry (industrial hemp, insects, seaweed, sesame)
    • Agrifood innovation professionals (e.g. startups, scaleups, agtech companies, Producer Technology Uptake Program participants and coordinators, innovation brokers)
    • Members of the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Alumni.
    Key Dates
    • Applications open on Monday, 20 March 2023
    • Applications close Friday, 14 April 2023
    • Applicants notified by: Friday, 28 April 2023
    • Company Directors Course commences: Monday, 15 May 2023
    Who should apply?

    Experienced directors, new directors, business owners and senior executives reporting to boards. It is best suited to participants who are comfortable with online learning and are keen to build connections with their fellow online learners.

    Do you know someone who would be perfect for this opportunity? It would be greatly appreciated if you could share this information.

    For further questions about the opportunity please contact:

    Sheridan Ingold
    Manager, Capacity Building
    Email: sheridan.ingold@agrifutures.com.au 
    Phone: 0438 921 421

     

    2. Governance Foundations for Not-For-Profit Directors

    Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) annual Not-for-Profit Scholarship Program for 2023/24 is now open.

    There are 200 fully funded scholarships available for directors, executives and emerging directors of not-for-profit organisations across Australia with an annual income of less than $2 million to attend the AICD’s Governance Foundations for Not-for-Profit Directors program.

    The AICD’s Governance Foundations for Not-for-Profit Directors program provides participants with an understanding of fundamental compliance and performance related roles and responsibilities of directors, specifically in the areas of governance, risk, financial performance and strategy. This program is offered over 1.5 days and includes the following 3 modules:

    • Duties and Responsibilities of the Not-for-Profit Director
    • Strategy and Risk for the Not-for-Profit Director
    • Finance for the Not-for-Profit Director

    Upon completion of this program, you will be able to:

    • Identify the key duties and responsibilities of directors in the not-for-profit environment
    • Appreciate the potential personal liability of directors and council members
    • Understand governance structures as they apply in the not-for-profit context
    • Consider the differences / similarities and nuances of the director’s role in the not-for-profit / for profit sectors
    • Understand the role of directors in overseeing the strategy formulation and risk management approach of the organisation
    • Review the financial statements and the linkages between them
    • Discuss how directors in the not-for-profit sector can link the financial statements to understand the ‘financial story’ and health of the organisation

    Please share this wonderful opportunity with directors, executives and emerging directors who you know would benefit from these studies.

    The application deadline is Sunday 23 April 2023, read full details here.

    If you need assistance with the scholarship application process, please contact the Australian Scholarships Foundation via applications@scholarships.org.au or call 1300 248 675.

  • Eyes in the Apiary

    From Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), 2021.

    Beekeepers are reminded to check their apiaries to ensure they are compliant with legislation and the Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice.

    While many beekeepers continue to deliver healthy pollination-ready hives, the quality and consistency in others varies and at times questionable.

    Many of the food crops we rely on are either greatly benefitted by, or completely dependent on, insects for pollination.

    Honey bees are among the few commercial, mobile pollination services in the world and have become an essential part of modern agriculture.

    The average honeybee can visit and pollinate more than 2,000 flowers in one day, greatly increasing the chances of a plant reaching its reproductive potential, which means more fruit, vegetables and seed production.

    Some crops, including almonds, apples, pears and cherries, depend almost totally on these pollination services for fruiting.

    For many other crops, such as broccoli, carrots, clover, lucerne and canola, insect pollination is essential for seed production.

    For a long time, many crops have benefitted from Western Australia’s healthy population of feral honey bees.

    However, the demand for paid pollination services has been rising, with the growth of several high value horticultural crops, as well as our improved appreciation of how pollination can increase crop yields, quality, and profits.

    From inspections back in 2021, WA’s orchards and crops have been buzzing with activity. Growers across the States have been welcoming truckloads of bees hoping to ensure their future harvest maximises their production.

    Throughout spring 2021, DPIRD apiary officers James Sheehan (Figure 1) and Jessica Moran (Figure 2) have visited several horticultural operations across the State for bee biosecurity inspections.

    Figure 1: Apiary Officer James Sheehan conducting biosecurity inspections at avocado pollination. Photo: J. Moran, © DPIRD 2021.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    During these visits, the officers performed hundreds of brood inspections to assess colony health, conducted drone uncapping (Figure 3) and alcohol washing for external mite surveillance, and collected honey samples for American foulbrood (AFB) and European foulbrood (EFB) testing. WA remains free from EFB and this testing was for surveillance only.

    Figure 3: An example of ‘drone uncapping’ from New Zealand. Drone larvae and pupae (Varroa’s preferred prey) are extracted from brood frames to check for mites. The red-brown mites are easy to detect among white larvae and pupae; three mites are visible here. Photo: Kiwimana.co.nz 2011

    The officers also completed compliance checks for registration, branding, and apiary signage, which are all requirements of the Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice.

    For the most part, the inspections painted a positive picture for the bee and pollination industry – healthy bees and happy growers.

    However, a few areas for improvement were identified:

    • Lack of branding or failure to strike-out former brands was one of the more common issues. Beekeepers are reminded that these offences carry penalties as branding hives is a legal requirement. Correct branding is crucial for identification of ownership and helps biosecurity officers to trace outbreaks during an incident.
    • Dead-out hives in the apiary at this time of year – let alone delivered to a pollination contract – certainly raised a few eyebrows. We understand issues around swarming, queenlessness and/or understrength colonies are common beekeeping challenges. However, dead outs, delivered by paid, professional beekeepers were disturbing discoveries…
    • Exposed, used hives are a biosecurity risk. It is an offence to leave hives, parts of hives including frames, combs, honey or beeswax, or appliances containing honey exposed to robber bees. Diseases, such as AFB, can quickly spread through bees robbing from these exposed materials so do yourself and your pollination neighbours a favour by keeping dead-out and spare hives closed (bee-proof).
    Pros & Cons

    Although paid pollination services can be a profitable opportunity, it is important to weigh the pros and cons and the value to your business.

    This will mean different things for different beekeepers.

    For some there may well be more profit elsewhere, for others it may be some reliable cashflow and or good diversification to your business income.

    Pollination events are high-density, high-intensity beekeeping activities. Contracts often bring numerous beekeepers into close proximity and can present some serious practical challenges to hive management and biosecurity risk.

    While the size of our industry pales in comparison to the pollination activities on the east coast, we should learn from their experiences to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

    For example, it is important to recognise that clustering large numbers of hives on resource-limited crops (i.e. at the beginning and end of flowering periods) can lead to superspreader events.

    These conditions promote robbing behaviour that can quickly spread disease from weak hives and dead-outs.

    For example, hundreds of hives were destroyed at South Australia’s almond pollination in 2018 after one contracted beekeeper brought an AFB-infected hive to an orchard.

    Engaging in pollination services means bearing responsibility for maintaining the highest biosecurity standards.

    When considering whether to pursue a pollination contract it is important to consider what you walk away with after the pollination ends.

    Yes, you may receive a fat cheque, but what about your bees?

    It goes without saying; crops vary in nutritional quality and season.

    Figure 4: Bees with baskets full of watermelon pollen. Photo: J. Moran, © DPIRD 2021.

    Some crops may help to build bees up, e.g. canola and watermelons provide large quantities of pollen (Figure 4).

    Other crops may leave weak colonies due to nutritional deficiencies or swarming challenges – an important consideration if the crop is far from home, limiting your ability to monitor and manage colonies.

    These are all pros and cons every beekeeper must weigh up when deciding to pursue pollination work and calculating the pollination rate.

    So before you jump into pollination – pause – take the time to understand your commitments, possible consequences, and the expectations of the grower. Fulfilling pollination contracts and delivering high-quality colonies is a big responsibility but the rewards can be very sweet (Figure 5).

    Figure 2: Apiary officer Jessica Moran (left) conducting an alcohol wash at almond pollination. Photo: J. Sheehan, © DPIRD 2021.

    For further information about pollination agreements, visit www.beeaware.org.au/pollination/pollination-agreements/ and watch Agriculture Victoria’s video about pollination biosecurity https://vimeo.com/594984588/ebba59116b

     

    Authors: James Sheehan and Jessica Moran, project officers (bees), Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia  (DPIRD)

  • Wild European Honey Bee Management Program

    Achieving the eradication of Varroa mite is vitally important for maintaining Australia’s honey bee industry.

    As an important component of the eradication of Varroa mite, it is necessary for NSW DPI to extend the Varroa mite Response in the Central Coast, Newcastle and Mid Coast EEZ extensions. The Wild European Honey Bee Management Team need the support of community members and beekeepers.

    Community members
    • Report wild/feral European beehives and swarms of European bees to DPI here.
    • Volunteer to host a wild European bee feeder/bait station here.
    Beekeepers in RED zones
    • Report the detection of Varroa mite or suspect mites in European honey bee hives here.
    • Remove your honey supers from managed bee hives in the RED zones (Central Coast, Newcastle, Mid Coast) before 27 March 2023 to ensure that honey contamination with the insecticides being used does not occur here.
    • Euthanise and wrap any managed bee hives in shrink wrap to protect against insecticide contamination prior to 27 March 2023 if you wish to retain your hive ware.

    View more information about the Wild European Honey Bee Management Program here.

  • Member bodies conference dates

     

    National Council of Crop Pollination Associations 16 May, – Penrith, NSW
    New South Wales Apiarists Association 18th-19th May – Penrith, NSW
    Tasmanian Beekeepers Association 26th-27th May – Hobart, TAS
    Queensland Beekeepers Association 15th-16th June – Toowoomba, QLD
    South Australian Apiarists Association 22nd-23rd June
    Victorian Apiarists Association 6th-7th July – Bendigo, VIC
    Australian Honey Bee Industry Council – AGM 8th July – Bendigo, VIC
    Honey Packers and Marketers Association TBA
    Australian Queen Bee Breeders Association TBA
    Bee Industry Council of WA Cancelled