July 2001

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Voluntary Contributors to AHBIC

AB’s Honey

Australian Rain Forest Honey

Australian Honey Bee Improvement Programme

Australian Queen Bee Exporters

Australian Sungold Queen Bees

Harold Ayton

Beeline Queens

Bradbury, GN and DJ

Bush Honey

Capilano Honey Limited

CE Mills

Chiltern Honey

Coopers Fine Foods

Tasmanian Crop Pollination Association

Dewar Apiaries

HL Hoskinson

Hunter Valley Apiaries

Koonoomoo Apiaries

R & E McDonald

IJ & PA Oakley

RC & DJ Phillips Pty Ltd

Pollination Association of WA

Queen-Bee-Ann Apiaries

R. Stephens

Swan Settlers


T & M Weatherhead

Walkabout Apiaries

Warral Apiaries

Weerona Apiaries

Wescobee Limited

We urge beekeepers to support those packers/queen bee breeders who contribute to AHBIC.


Bird’s Role in Saving Honey

After public awareness helped eradicate the exotic Asian honeybee in Darwin in 1998, it was local beekeepers who were of further assistance when they suggested ways of detecting the threatening bees in the event of another outbreak.

They told NAQS entomologist Glenn Bellis that because a migratory bird, the rainbow bee eater, ate a huge number of bees during the dry season, he could possible use the birds to monitor the bees.

"They said: ‘All you need to do is find out what the birds are eating and that will tell you whether there are any bees in an area and whether they are Asian honeybees’," says Glenn.

Glenn followed their advice and struck gold. He recently released the results of a successful AQIS-funded trial that involved examining the pellets of the rainbow bee eater to determine their diet, and whether they contained parts of honeybees that could be identified.

"These birds eat insects and there is a fair proportion of the insect they can’t actually digest, like the wings so they regurgitate these things called pellets,: says Glenn. By examining the pellets under a microscope it was possible to identify the wings of different types of bee.

"The good thing about this bird is that it roosts in large colonies in Darwin," he says, "so you’re effectively sampling the diets of up to 400 birds at a time."

Exotic honeybees, present in Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea, carry varroa and tropilaelaps mites, which attach European honeybees and cause the hives to sicken and die. No country has yet been able to eradicate the bees or the mites once they’ve become established.

"It’s not only the bee-keeping industry that would be affected if these honeybees became established in Australia," says Glenn. "Agricultural producers of flowers, vegetables, fruits and oil seeds also rely on honeybees to pollinate their crops."

Quarantine is also concerned with the impact these bees could have on native bees, plants and animals.

Glenn Bellis 08 8999 2345

Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS)

The NAQS is designed to protect Australia from incursions of exotic pests, weeds and diseases present in countries to our north. It does this by:-

  • identifying and evaluating quarantine risks facing northern Australia; and
  • providing early detection and warning of new pests through a programme of monitoring, surveillance and public awareness across northern Australia and in neighbouring countries.

The clients of NAQS include all people whose interest area protected by keeping exotic pests, weeds and diseases out of Australia. In broad terms, this encompasses primary producers, importers, exporters, all industries affected by international trade, and the Australian community generally.

Through its focus on surveillance of Australia’s northern borders, NAQS has a close relationship with residents of northern Australia and neighbouring countries the support of these clients is crucial to the success of NAQS, and they stand to be more directly affected by incursions of pests and diseases. These clients include all residents of the Torres Strait, Aboriginal communities and other landowners living in remote parts of northern Australia, pastoralists and primary producers across northern Australia, relevant State government and overseas government agencies, and residents of major northern population centres including Broome, Darwin, Weipa, Thursday Island and Cairns.

The mission of NAQS is to:-

  • protect Australia’s animal, plant and human health, and the environment, by improving the integrity of the quarantine border;
  • identify and raise awareness of quarantine risks facing northern Australia; and
  • provide detection and early warning of exotic pest and disease incursions across northern Australia.

If you become aware of people not conducting themselves fairly or honestly in their dealings with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) then you can call the AQIS Redline on 1800 803 006. Calls to this number are treated in the strictest confidence and will be acted upon promptly.

You may also ring the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australia toll free number 1800 813 753 (24 hours a day), which is connected to an answering machine to allow anonymity you may leave your name and number if you wish.

Death of Stan Hughston

Mr Stan Hughston from Wanaaring passed away on June 7, 2001 aged 88 years. Stan was a person who served the beekeeping industry over a period of more than 40 years, 25 years of that time serving on the NSWAA State Executive. Our sincere sympathies are extended to his wife Cath and his family.

Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries

Total support to agriculture in OECD countries amounted to $US 327b or 1.3% of GDP in 2000. Producer support and protection levels remain very low in New Zealand (below 1% of farm income is from subsidies) and Australia (6%). Support is to high in Iceland, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and Korea that in these countries farm receipts are three times higher than they would be if entirely generated at world prices. The European Union averages 38% support and North America around 20%.

OECD producer support is greatest for rice (with farm receipts being more than five time those based on world prices), followed by sugar and dairy (each around twice market prices) and least for eggs and wool (both less than 10% support).

New Executive Committee

The Annual General Meeting of AHBIC was held in Berriedale, Tasmania on 9th and 10th July 2001. A full report on the Conference will be included in the next monthly update.

During the meeting a new Executive Committee was elected and contact details are listed below for your information.



Mr Ray Phillips (Wife: Dianne)
265 Pine Lodge Nth Road
Phn/Fax: 03 5828 8360
Mob: 0408 597 304

Deputy Chairman

Mr Marc Higgins (Wife: Hyun-Jung)
PO Box 53
Phn: 07 5445 3544
Fax: 07 5445 3090
Mob: 0413 943 338

Executive (HPMAA)

Mr Lloyd Smith (Wife: Dawn)
International Business Manager
Capilano Honey Limited
391 Archerfield Road
PO Box 66
Phn: 07 3712 8209
Fax: 07 3712 8286
Home: 07 3376 1726
Mob: 0418 786158

Executive (FCAAA)

Mr Harold Ayton (Wife: Noelene)
38 James Street
Phn: 03 6425 2089
Fax: 03 6425 2052
Mob: 0417 267 456

Executive (FCAAA)

Mr Greg Roberts (Wife: Suesanne)
122 Mundy Street
Phn/fax (work): 02 4821 9022
Phn (home): 02 4821 1791
Mob: 0407 246 193

Executive (NCPA)

Mr Bob McDonald (Wife: Eileen)
RSD McKenzies Hill
Phn: 03 5472 2161
Fax: 03 5472 3472
Mob: 0427 722162
Satellite: 0404 062161


Mr Trevor Weatherhead (Wife: Marion)
Middle Road MS 825
Phn: 07 3376 5404 (W)
Fax: 07 3279 5501 (W)
Phn: 07 5467 2135 (H)
Fax: 07 5467 2265 (H)
Mob: 0427 960 735

Executive Director

Mr Stephen Ware
Australian Honey Bee Industry Council
Level 12, 52 Phillip Street
PO Box R838
Phn: 02 9247 1180
Fax: 02 9247 1192
Mob: 0418 976643

Agriculture Advancing Australia AAA Farm Innovation Programme

Readers are reminded about the Farm Innovation Programme the details of which are as follows:

The Farm Innovation Programme encourages businesses in the farming, food, fisheries and forestry sectors to adopt already researched innovative practices, processes and products.


The AAA Farm Innovation Programme provides grants to eligible Australian farming, food, fishing and forestry businesses to adopt innovative approaches.

The AAA Farm Innovation Programme is being piloted over 2000-1 and 2001-2. It operates under the Commonwealth Government AAA Agriculture Advancing Australia initiative: Farm Innovation The Key to Success.

The programme is administered by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australia (AFFA).

Who is Eligible?

Individual businesses and groups of business in the farming, food, fishing and forestry industries are invited to apply for funding. Applicants need to be registered businesses with annual turnovers in the range of $50,000 to $3 million in any of the preceding three years and be willing to work with AFFA in profiling their project throughout the rural sector in Australia. Selected projects will be funded up to a maximum of 50% of the eligible project costs with no minimum or maximum funding levels under the programme.

Three funding rounds are planned at this stage for 2001:

Round 4 closes: 31st October 2001

Objectives of the Programme

The main objective of the programme is to encourage the adoption of innovative and already researched practices, production techniques, technologies and products in farming, food, fishing and forestry industries through the provision of grants.

Innovation refers to practice, production process, product or technology that has not been applied or adopted before or has only been adopted on a limited scale or is new to an industry, region, state or the nation. For the purpose of this programme, this refers to the stage when research, development and trials have already been completed.

This programme is not aimed at support for business establishment. The programme may support business diversification if it is directly lined to the first adoption of innovation. It is the responsibility of the applicants to show in their application that their project is innovative, feasible and sustainable, and will have flow on benefits to others in the industry.


This programme encourages businesses to adopt already researched innovative practices and products. This is important in stimulating economic and employment growth in the regions, by helping businesses improve their profitability, and sustainability of the natural resource base.

If you would like more information regarding the programme or copies of the information package, please call AFFA staff on free call 1800 686 175. All information material is also available on the programme website

Unregistered Bees Cost Owner $6,011

Keeping bees while unregistered has cost a Tamworth beekeeper $6,011.

Appearing before Magistrate Mr Ian Guy in Tamworth Court on July 12, Leonard Charles O’Brien was convicted and fined a total of $500 and order to pay court costs of $58 and professional costs of $5,453.

In presenting the case of NSW Agriculture, Barrister Chris Hoy told the court that the defendant kept bees without registration, in contravention of the Apiaries Act 1986, Section 6(1).

The court heard that the requirement for beekeepers to be registered revolves around effective disease control. Registration is important as it enables the identification of beekeepers and facilitates the locating and checking of beehives for disease by regulatory inspectors.

The Apiaries Act Section 6(I) provides for a maximum penalty of $2,200 for keeping bees while unregistered.

Bruce White NSW Agriculture


Crop and Stock Report New South Wales

Spotted gum on the south coast is still producing and should last until late August. There have been some good crops taken by some beekeepers.

Mugga ironbark in the central west has yielded right through the winter with most beekeepers producing good crops. This does not happen very often but, it being a very mild winter to date, beekeepers are not complaining.

Napunyah country had up to three inches of rain and the honey and pollen soon started to improve.

White box in the central west has also been producing honey with no ill effects to bees as, yet again, mainly to the mild winter weather.

Yellow box and green mallee are holding good bud and ground flora is looking good but does need good late winter and spring rains.

Honey is still in short supply but with production in some districts improving, it should improve in early spring.

Eddie Podmore

Quarantine Report

Quarantine Chairman

I have again been elected as the Chairman of the Quarantine Sub-committee for AHBIC. I have a sub-committee made up of the leaders of the response teams in each State. If anyone has any queries on quarantine matters, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Competency training Stage 2 at Grafton

The second phase of the training has been successfully completed at Grafton. The weather was very kind to us. We now have in place at least one trained person in each State and the Northern Territory. The next phase is the training of the response teams in each State.

My thanks go to Bruce White for his efforts in setting up the program at Grafton. Also thanks to local beekeeper Wayne Fuller for his help and also David McIvor from the local research station where we carried out the training.

Access to the USA

This still remains a source of much frustration. It now seems that the USA will be wanting to trade access for Californian table grapes to Australia for access for the live bees to the USA. Not a very satisfactory situation as our application should stand alone.

Queen bee import protocol

This was reviewed at the recent AHBIC AGM. There was a series of motion passed which will allow for minor alterations to take. There had been statements made that the protocols were out of date. The review, which has been undertaken by industry, has found that the protocol is still very relevant to today’s situation when importing queen bees and there were no major changes needed.

Unwanted publicity

The AQIS Bulletin Vol. 14 No. 2 March/May 2001 contained some unwanted publicity. Under the heading "QEAC gets stung in WA sting operation" it describes the experiences of members of the Quarantine and Exports Advisory Council (QEAC) when they visited some of the port surveillance hives in Western Australia in company with Lee Allan.

The article says in part "Indeed, they had a chance to audition for starring roles in a WA version of Attack of the Killer Bees when AQIS Executive Director Meryl Stanton, Professor Mal Nairn and colleagues visited a local apiary…when the angry insects made a beeline for the QEAC members. A number of the members ended their bee encounter a little worse for wear, but took the painful experience in their stride..."

Not really the sort of Australia wide and probably worldwide publicity we need. The port surveillance program has been painstakingly built up in all ports and there has been some resistance because of the possibility of stings. This article doesn’t engender any confidence into those ports where there is a degree of resistance to placing hives.

It can only be hoped that the experience of the QEAC people will not be held against the industry at some later stage in their deliberations on any industry matter that may come before them. It is a lesson to all of us to be very careful when introducing influential people to bees, particularly if they have had no previous experience.

Trevor Weatherhead

Crop Report South Australia

The annual moving of bees into the almond growing areas for contract pollination services is about to start (this report written 20/07/01).

West Coast: Upper This area has received good rainfall over the last two months which provides some optimism for prospects later in the season. Bees are currently working patches of E. diversifolia that is producing some honey when weather conditions are favourable. The only prospect for spring is late E. diversifolia and canola. Black mallee has very little bud in this are for this spring.

South East: Upper Banksia is yielding in some areas. Messant is better for honey and breeding up compared to Ngarkat. A little mallee is starting to come in at Messant as well. Most bees are in good condition, beekeepers are at present preparing bees for almond pollination which could start about mid July.

South East: Lower Not a lot happening in this area. Most bees in the Lower South East have been shifted north to Messant and Ngarkat National Parks.

Northern: Upper Bees in wintering mode. Reasonable follow up rains give optimism for ground flora prospects in spring.

West Coast: Lower Bees are doing well on Euc. diversifolia, Euc. socialis and Euc. incrassata. Fattening up of buds with good rains.

Northern: Lower Most bees are on their wintering sites.

Riverland: All bees will be moved onto almond pollination sites.

Kangaroo Island: No change from last report

Kay Lambert

Crop Report Victoria

Most of the state has continued to receive moderate to good rains since the last report. The mild winter is promoting pasture growth and, if the rains continue, prospects for a reasonable spring for hive build up and some honey will improve. Eucalypts right across the state are looking healthy, reflecting the benefit of a wet spring last season, which enabled the trees to put a lot of growth on in the crowns.

General concern still remains, however, about predictions for the development of another El nino phenomenon, bringing with it the prospect of another dry period for eastern Australia and the possibility of diminution of honey crops next season and beyond. If drought conditions do materialise next spring and summer, it will exert further pressure on the fitness of melliferous flora which is already having to cope with below average rainfall over the last 25 years or so.

For the present, beekeepers working our of the state on napunyah and spotted gum in New South Wales and Queensland, report that they have obtained useful crops of winter honey and that the bees have held up well. Prospects for next season’s honey production include:-

Gippsland: This region is enjoying its most consistent rainfall period for more than a decade. Ten of the past eleven years have been well below average. A fair budding on white stringybark is beginning to flower and is yielding pollen. Yellow box is well budded in patches and some messmate will also flower later on. Summer coastal conditions will be good where saw banksia is well cobbed. If the abundant rains continue, spring build up conditions from weed and native flora will be excellent. For the first time for many years, clover is being considered as a real prospect in the farming country during summer. There are some patches of narrow leaf peppermint budded and, for the autumn, some patches of green apple box. If any of the short budders decide to do something next summer/autumn, then there is the potential for the season to finish with better than average production.

Central Victoria: Latest reports indicate that some yellow gum may hang until the spring. Although rainfall has been lower than usual for this time of the year, pasture and crop growth has been satisfactory due to the mild winter. If rains continue, spring build up prospects should be good. Beekeepers will rely on yellow gum, red box, canola and paterson’s curse for spring honey, depending on seasonal conditions at the time.

The stand out prospect for next season is river red gum which is budded throughout the state, supported by some good patches of yellow box. As usual, the short budders (iron bark and grey box), hold the key to autumn prospects. It will be the end of November before beekeepers will be able to assess this potential.

Further to the west, beekeepers with apiaries wintering on banksia ornata, particularly in the Little Desert, report that bees have done well and will enter the spring in great condition. The first migrations to almonds for pollination in the Riverland have occurred. Some apiaries have moved into the Mallee for early spring prospects.

North West Mallee: The Mallee has had sufficient rain, although a bit late, for pasture and crops to grow well. More rain will be needed. Weed flora is a little backward as a consequence. Patches of white mallee have been flowering and yielding on the warmer days. Much of the flowering could be finished by mid spring. For the beekeepers who are prepared to fossick around, patches of other mallee species which are budded can be found. River red gum budding is outstanding for early/mid summer. Experienced beekeepers are confident that black box will also bud in areas sufficiently large to become a crop potential. Apiaries are being moved onto almonds for pollination during late july/August.

North East: Adequate rainfall has occurred over the last six weeks, although yearly precipitation is well below average. Beekeepers will rely on spring rainfall to produce canola and paterson’s curse in the Riverina. As elsewhere in the state, river red gum is exceptionally well budded and should yield. Red box and hill gum are budded as well as some mountain species although some of these are not reliable producers. As usual, the short budders will hold the key to autumn prospects. Some apiaries have been moved to the Riverland for almond pollination.

Linton Briggs