Asian honey bee

Asian honey beeAsian honey bee (AHB) Apis cerana Java was first detected in Cairns, Queensland, in May 2007. An eradication program commenced immediately, funded initially by the Queensland Government. The National Management Group formed to deal with the incursion (originally under the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement) agreed to national cost sharing of the program between 1 July 2009 and 31 March 2011.

In January 2011, following a re-evaluation of the program, the National Management Group agreed that eradication was no longer technically feasible, but that further action was warranted on a national scale to mitigate the potential impact of this pest bee.

As a result, the Australian Government is investing $2 million from July 2011 to June 2013 in an Asian Honey Bee Transition to Management Program, managed by Plant Health Australia. The program is bolstered by contributions from partners, with funding contributed by Biosecurity Queensland and the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council and the Federal Council of Australian Apiarists’ Association.

The program will be delivered through a range of project specific action plans which will be conducted by Biosecurity Queensland. The planned activities will engage individuals, communities, local government, agriculture and environment agencies, production and service industries in developing knowledge, tools, strategies and actions to cope with the ongoing presence of Asian honey bee with a view to mitigating the social, environmental and economic impacts of the pest.

Access to information, techniques and resources to facilitate this response will provide for effective ongoing management by individuals, communities, local government and industries, without government intervention. Funding provided to the program by Australian Honey Bee Industry Council will be used to fund and facilitate research on developing management strategies and suppression techniques of AHB that will assist the honey bee industry to manage the impacts.

The key elements of the program are:

  • a public awareness campaign
  • development and adoption of tools and strategies to control AHB
  • development of methods to suppress AHB within commercial beekeeping areas and environmentally friendly AHB suppression methods
  • optimisation of strategies to provide early detection of new incursions of AHB
  • identification of critical intervention points and processes to reduce the long distance spread of AHB through transport facilities and other risk pathways.

In 2011–12 PHA established the AHB Transition Management Group to oversee the implementation of the program as well as establishing an AHB Scientific Advisory Group of honey bee scientists and industry experts to provide technical advice on specific scientific matters.

More information about the program.