AgriFutures Australia, Media Release, 11 May 2023
This project assessed the impact on honey bee biosecurity of reduced access to public land floral resources as a result of the 2019-20 Australian bushfire crisis. It investigated current biosecurity programs and practices, gaps in biosecurity coverage, beekeeper use of public lands and biosecurity risk as a result of changes in the beekeeper’s enterprise, and delivered recommendations relating to policy change, technology investment and research and development.
The study found that while the impacts of loss of public land apiary resource as a result of the 2019-20 bushfire crisis were marginal at the industry level, the impacts on individual beekeepers were significant. The bushfires have contributed to overall pressure the industry is under to secure essential fodder for its livestock and maintain a healthy honey bee population for honey production and pollination purposes.
Implementation of study findings may contribute to a lower endemic honey bee pest and disease load, and a more productive industry.