500million bees die in Brazil in 3 months

In a sign of the times, the death of 500million honey bees in Brazil, in the short time period of just some three months, has been linked to indiscriminate use of pesticides. This equates to the loss of some 12,500 beehives, and the deaths are not simply confined to honey bees either. Large numbers of native bees would undoubtedly also have been affected, but because little research has been done in the area, the number of species and the total number of bees affected is impossible to determine.

And why? Because in moves reminiscent of the reasons behind the wildfires sweeping through the Amazon rain forests at the moment, largely caused by a relaxation of forestry rules, the Brazilian Government has relaxed restrictions on the use of many pesticides that are lethal to bees. Some 300 new products have been registered this year alone, and these include many that are banned overseas because of their lethal effects on bees.

For the full story, read The Guardian article from the link below.


Incursion of Asian bees (Apis cerana) in Darwin

AHBIC has been advised by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources that a swarm of Asian bees (Apis cerana) has been found in Darwin in the suburb of Karama. A local beekeeper was called, on 13 May 2018, to collect a swarm of bees and noticed that they were most likely Asian bees and reported this to the local Apiary Officer. All bees have been destroyed including the queen.
Examination has shown no presence of external mites i.e. Varroa or Tropilaelaps. Examination for internal mites is also being conducted. DNA identification will also be carried out.
Northern Territory Departmental Officers are starting a surveillance program initially concentrating on a one (1) kilometre radius for the presence of other Asian bees.
The AHBIC Executive is considering a response to this incursion.
Further information will be sent out as it is received.
Trevor Weatherhead AM
Executive Director
16 May, 2018

Varroa jacobsoni in Townsville - Updates from AHBIC

In the two and half months since I last reported there have been no Asian bees found in Townsville. Under the Response Plan the eradication phase of the program ended on 28 February and we now move into the proof of freedom stage. It is anticipated that the proof of freedom stage will last for three (3) years unless there are more findings of Asian bees and Varroa jacobsoni.

In February I spent a day in Townsville talking with the leaders of the eradication response. I was pleased with the discussions I had. Now the proof of freedom stage has been started there will be a reduction in the staffing numbers. Key members of the eradication program will be retained.

Thank you to the industry volunteers who went to Townsville to help out. Your input, particularly in showing the local beekeepers how to carry out sugar shakes, alcohol washes and drone uncapping, were very much appreciated by the local beekeepers. This testing forms an important part of the proof of freedom stage.

One of the staff who will moving onto another job is Roger Winton. Roger came in as the local controller when the Asian bees and V. jacobsoni were first found. I found Roger very easy to work with. So thank you Roger for your work. Best of luck in your new job.

So at this stage I will not be putting out any more information bulletins unless there is a change in the situation in Townsville.

Australian Honey is a Safe Product

There have recently been newspaper articles about Australian honey being contaminated with alkaloids. These are in effect a rehash of issues that were dealt with some 5 years ago, and are both misleading and inaccurate. A comprehensive and detailed explanation/response can be found on the Australian Honey Bee Inductry Council website.

Go to http://honeybee.org.au/australian-honey-is-a-safe-natural-product

BEE SAFE and BEE Prepared videos online

The Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership has produced a series of videos to help raise awareness of work place health and safety for bee keepers and those who are interested in taking up the hobby.

Why do bees sting? https://youtu.be/GtDD-BVuGuY?list=PLFGsRc6SOWFllxlmoOFu0KQl7eS6mARX8

What should beekeepers do to avoid being stung? https://youtu.be/3Toruss7OLY?list=PLFGsRc6SOWFllxlmoOFu0KQl7eS6mARX8

Steps to take when stung by a bee: https://youtu.be/Al1c5XU-5bo?list=PLFGsRc6SOWFllxlmoOFu0KQl7eS6mARX8

How does a smoker actually calm bees? https://youtu.be/Ueafw62fN3Q?list=PLFGsRc6SOWFllxlmoOFu0KQl7eS6mARX8

How can reactions to bee stings become more severe over time?https://youtu.be/ugiUAzz6Mic?list=PLFGsRc6SOWFllxlmoOFu0KQl7eS6mARX8

How can beekeepers select less aggressive bees? https://youtu.be/BoHJVDSTQ24?list=PLFGsRc6SOWFllxlmoOFu0KQl7eS6mARX8