Biosecurity Manual for the Honey Bee Industry

June 17, 2013

Editor’s Note:  The joint Australian Government-Honeybee Industry biosecurity plan, “Biosecurity Manual for the Honey Bee Industry: Reducing the risk of exotic and established pests affecting honey bees, Version 1.0” is attached here


From: Farm Weekly (Australia)


Bee-autiful biosecurity plan


A NEW industry biosecurity plan has been launched by Plant Health Australia (PHA) in conjunction with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council.


The plan was launched at the 100th NSW Apiarist Association Conference in Merimbula NSW last month, establishing a range of actions to be taken by stakeholders to protect Australia’s honey bees and the valuable pollination services that they provide.


The Industry Biosecurity Plan for the Honey Bee Industry was presented by PHA chief executive Greg Fraser.


Mr Fraser told delegates it was essential the nominated parties implement the actions identified in the plan to protect bees and the many plant production industries that they support.


He said that the plan is principally designed for decision and policy makers within industry, government and relevant stakeholders. It provides the industry with a mechanism to agree the greatest exotic bee pest threats and identify strengths and weaknesses in current biosecurity activities.


The plan was developed by an Industry Biosecurity Group assembled by PHA with the assistance of AHBIC. “It’s an agreed plan at a national level that ensures everyone knows the part that they play in boosting bee biosecurity,” Mr Fraser said.


“While the honey bee industry has an overall estimated value of $90 million a year,” he said, “the pollination services that honey bees provide contribute significantly to the Australian economy. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of protecting these beneficial insects.”


High priority pests identified in the plan include a variety of exotic mites, such as Varroa mites, which could decimate Australia’s honey bee population and cause a significant negative impact for pollination of a variety of horticultural and agricultural crops, should they beat border defences and establish in Australia.


As honey bees forage for nectar and pollen, their activities pollinate plants, resulting in increased seed or fruit set, improved storage qualities and shape of some fruits and melons, and more even maturation of some crops. Plant species on which honey bees forage differ in their responsiveness to pollination by honey bees. Crops such as almonds are 100 per cent reliant on honey bees for pollination.


Specialist pollination services are also essential to the breeding of new strains of many crop, pasture and horticultural species.

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