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Threats to bees in Australia and worldwide

Home Forums FOOD PRODUCTION, HARVEST AND STORAGE BEE Keeping Threats to bees in Australia and worldwide

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    I recently wrote an article about threats to bees in Australia: Disaster on Our Doorstep: the Annihilation of Honeybees.

    After interviewing Sandra Ullrich from Adelaide’s CBD Bees I became passionate about this topic and read as much about it as I could.

    Varroa mite has now reached New Guinea so is just one unmonitored shipping container away from Australia, but varroa mite is just one threat our bees face.

    This is one of the most critical topics issues facing the world today and is one that must be shared and understood if disaster is to be averted.

    Moderators, I hope it is acceptable for me to post this here.


    It really wouldn’t take much for Australia’s honey bees to get into serious trouble.

    A few years ago small hive beetle reached our area.  Everything I read says that they are not a big problem.  I had probably 2 dozen feral bee hives in the trees at that time and during each spring they would all swarm.  All but 1 have since died out completely and the remaining one is now weak, super aggressive and I have not seen them swarm so assume they will die off when the queen is too old.  Just after small hive beetle came here (I was unaware of the new pest) I bought a hive and tried to buy some bees.  No one would sell them to me because their hives were all starting to die.  One very experienced apiarist had lost over 70 hives that year and was looking to lose a lot more.  He was almost in tears and told me not to get bees in our area because of small hive beetle.

    Luckily Australia has a lot of native bees, wasps, ants, tachinid flies etc which will pollinate many of our crops and will be immune to the mites etc.  They are not useful in obtaining uniform sized fruit in massive scale monoculture crops such as almonds and also can not produce honey.  But having them means it is not all doom and gloom as we will always have our food plants pollinated.


    Hive beetle isn’t such a problem.  We first came across them 2 years ago when we had a wet/humid summer. We found that folded chux wipes caught the legs of the beetles, and the bees could deal with them. Last year we didn’t have any beetle, but we ended up feeding the bees because the dry left them with no food in the district.  This year, life’s good.  Its been a moist summer, but cooler than usual, and not a beetle to be seen.  We still have the chux wipes in the top box, and inspect them monthly for infestation.


    This is not bee pest related, but I am trying to find out how to remove bees from chimneys. I would prefer not to kill them if that is possible. Let alone where’d they go from there.


    Would a one way trap just make the workers leave causing the queen starve and die?  The workers with no hive and no queen are then as good as dead?  I have seen hives where the queen dies, chaos breaks out in a big way.

    I would call the local apiarists and see if anyone will come and collect them for you.  Depending where you live there may be plenty of people interested or no one at all, it is worth a try though.


                 Honey bees are threatened here too, however, mason bees are not and they also do a good job pollinating. However, they have the problem they find less and less places to live. That’s why I have started to build and sell bee houses.


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