Honey bees

Currently Australia is free of many serious honey bee pests that damage the health of European honey bees overseas. A number of programs have been developed to help protect Australia’s honey bees from exotic pests, and to preserve the pollination benefits they bring to many crops.

The honey bee industry, governments, research and development agencies, and crop industries that benefit from pollination are all collaborating and contributing in various ways to make these programs possible.

Together, these activities enhance the preparedness of the honey bee industry for exotic bee pests, provide support for international trade and protect the pollination reliant industries from the impacts of an exotic bee pest incursion.

National Bee Biosecurity Program

National Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice

There are simple things every person can do to help keep the honey bees in Australia healthy.

The honey bee industry, which includes all of the state-based beekeeping associations, has developed the Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice. The Code includes basic biosecurity practices that should be used by all beekeepers in Australia. These actions help to minimise the impact of pests and diseases on their own hives and those of other beekeepers.

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Bee Biosecurity Officers

To help beekeepers to implement biosecurity measures and to ensure that they are complying with the Code of Practice and relevant legislation, Bee Biosecurity Officers are employed within six state departments of primary industry.

The biosecurity officers are there to provide training and education. If there is an exotic pest incursion, the biosecurity officers will be on hand to provide expert support to industry, and to help design and implement response measures.

For more information about bee biosecurity, the code of practice, pollination of crops by honey bees, pests, news and videos, go to the BeeAware website beeaware.org.au

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National Bee Pest Surveillance Program

The National Bee Pest Surveillance Program is an early warning system to detect new incursions of exotic bee pests and pest bees. The program involves a range of surveillance methods conducted at sea and air ports throughout Australia considered to be the most likely entry points for bee pests and pest bees.

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Online training

Biosecurity for Beekeepers

An online training course has been developed to make it easy for beekeepers to find out how to care for honey bees in accordance with the new Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice. The Biosecurity for Beekeepers course explains why biosecurity is important, describes the main pest threats to bees and shows how to check hives for signs of pests and diseases. It’s designed for people with a basic understanding of beekeeping practices, but all beekeepers should find it helpful.

Click here to go to the Biosecurity for Beekeepers login page

Bee Aware website

BeeAware is a hub of information for beekeepers and growers about honey bee biosecurity and pollination of agricultural and horticultural crops.

The site contains an extensive range of information about exotic and established pests and diseases of honey bees, and helps beekeepers to identify and respond to these pest threats. It also contains information about the pollination of crops and how beekeepers and growers can work together to provide and receive best practice pollination services.

The BeeAware website is also where you will find information on the National Honey bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice, the Bee Biosecurity Video Series, the BeeAware Newsletter and other resources.

More information about the honey bee industry in Australia, including a list of the exotic and endemic pests of bees, is available from the Honey bee industry section of this site.