Getting the buzz on bee biosecurity
14 September 2016
Agriculture Victoria apiary staff recently completed a large surveillance effort on bee hives that were sent to pollinate almond blossom in north-west Victoria.
Agriculture Victoria's Senior Apiary Officer Joe Riordan said an estimated 140,000 bee hives from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland were moved into orchards to pollinate blossoms in the region's $381 million almond industry.
"With this density of bee hives, pests and diseases can easily spread to unaffected hives owned by other beekeepers should unhealthy colonies be placed in an orchard."
Mr Riordan said the surveillance focussed on endemic bee diseases, such as American foulbrood, registration and branding of hives and interstate movement certificates.
"As part of our audit program the apiary team found 120 hives owned by two bee keepers in a relatively small area of orchard that required immediate destruction onsite", he said.
"Where non-compliance with the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 was detected, Agriculture Victoria apiary officers followed up with those responsible and ensured that appropriate action was undertaken."
Mr Riordan said every beekeeper should adopt the Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice to ensure that healthy hives are available to continue the valuable pollination service they provide to horticulture.
He said it was estimated that honey bee pollination contributes between $4 to $6 billion per annum to the Australian economy.
"Honey bee pollination from managed hives is essential for the production of many horticultural and seed crops, such as canola, almonds, kiwi fruit, cherries, pome fruit and seed clover, and is known to significantly increase both the yield and quality of crops."
Find out more about Honey bees in Victoria.
Categorised under: Biosecurity