May 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

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

Swan Settlers

T & M Weatherhead

Walkabout Apiaries

Weerona Apiaries

Wescobee Limited

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


Australian Insects Common Names (AICN)

The widely used "CSIRO Handbook of Australian Insect Names", last revised in 1993 has been updated and expanded to reflect taxonomic changes, new names and newly recorded species. The updating and transfer of the Handbook to the web has been a joint effort of CSIRO Entomology and AFFA’s Office of the Chief Plant Protection Officer. The new web version of the Handbook was launched in Canberra on 23rd April 2001 by Dr Peter Raven, Director of the Missouri Botanical Gardens. The web site can be found at

Agriculture Advancing Australia AAA Farm Innovation Programme

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 3 closes: 29th June 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

Need Information About the New Food Standards Code?

The joint Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code is available free of charge on the ANZFA web site: or

If you need some explanation about any of the standards contained in the Code, ANZFA’s Food Standards Information Unit has set up an email advice line ( and a telephone hotline (1300 652 166) to help industry make a smooth change to the new requirements of the Code. By sending an email to the advice line, or by making a local-charge phone call, businesses in Australia can connect with ANZFA’s help desk in Canberra to have their questions about implementing the joint Code answered. The phone line is open 9:00am to 5:00pm AEST.

Smuggling Case

Mr Terry Brown appeared in Downing Centre Court, Sydney on Friday 4th May 2001 for sentencing.

There were three (3) charges for which he had previously pleaded guilty.

  1. Illegally importing 8 Italian queen bees concealed in pens
  2. Falsifying his Customs Declaration
  3. Illegally exporting 40 queen bees

Before sentencing, the Magistrate was given a brief from the prosecution which included various reports and submissions. Mr Brown’s solicitor objected to an "Impact Statement" signed by Trevor Weatherhead on behalf of the Australian Queen Bee Breeders’ Association Inc.. requesting that only scientific reports should be admissible. As a result all Association submissions were then withdrawn.

The prosecutor outlined the threat to the beekeeping industry by an industry person. He said Terry Brown was fully aware of what he was doing and it was a deliberate action on his part to gain commercial advantage by side-stepping quarantine. He also mentioned the recent disease crisis in New Zealand.

Mr Brown’s solicitor stated that his client’s motivation was to improve the genetics of Australian bees which are not suitable for overseas. At a cost to himself of $3,000, his hives have now been checked by CSIRO and no sign of disease found. He said that conditions at Eastern Creek are different now than they were when he committed the offence. If he was to go to gaol, his family would suffer and his business would fail as none of his nine (9) staff are able to continue his work.

The Magistrate said that it appeared that Mr Brown was trying to improve the marketing ability of his bees for commercial advantage. She commented on the varroa mite and tracheal mite and she also noted that his bees did not have any disease, however, the potential risk to the beekeeping industry must be taken into account.

On the export charge she commented that Mr Brown had exported 29 times in 2000 he knew the requirement and she told him "you cannot place yourself before authority".

Before handing down the sentence the Magistrate stated that she had considered a custodial sentence as well as periodic detention and that she had taken into account that it was a first offence, references from within the industry and that Mr Brown now appeared to be genuinely remorseful.

The following sentences were handed down on the three charges as above:

  1. 200 hours community service within the next 12 months.
  2. Fine
  3. 100 hours community service within the next 12 months

Plus: Court Costs of $556.00

Margaret Blunden

Upcoming Events

Please note the following dates in your diary!

New South Wales Apiarists Association

31 May-1 June 2001 Port Macquarie

Western Australian Farmers Federation- Beekeeping Section

7-8 June 2001 Henley Brook

Victorian Apiarists Association

14-15 June 2001 Central Region

South Australian Apiarists Association

22-23 June 2001 Eagle on the Hill

Queensland Beekeepers Association

28-29 June 2001 Sunshine Coast

Tasmanian Beekeepers Association

6-7 July 2001 Hobart

Honey Packers and Marketers Association

30 May 2001 - Sydney

National Council of Pollination Associations

To be advised

Australian Queen Bee Breeders Association

2 June 2001- Port Macquarie

Australian Honey Bee Industry Council

9-10 July 2001 - Hobart


Crop Report and Stock Report Tasmania

Tasmania has experienced a very mild autumn with almost drought-like (but green) conditions prevailing, broken last week by good general rainfalls. This should result in good clover ground flora conditions for late spring and early summer.

During the next couple of months, hives will be moved back from the leatherwood forests to local and coastal areas for pollen and early breeding conditions. Sugar feeding will be necessary for the majority of beekeepers.

Most stocks of honey have been cleared. Packers stocks are low for this time of the year. Prepak inquiries for new overseas markets will be able to be pursued.

The Tasmanian Beekeepers’ Association Inc. extends a very warm welcome to mainland beekeepers for their conference in Hobart July 6th and 7th, 2001.

Shirley Stephens

Crop Report South Australia

West Coast: Lower Euc. diversifolia has a medium budding, yielding pollen and nectar. Further rainfall would boost the yield potential. E. gracilis (white mallee) producing honey. Spring prospects E. angulosa, E. incrassata and E. leucoxylon (blue gum) all budded.

West Coast: Upper Euc. diversifolia was producing in patches. There has now been some rain which should be beneficial for spring ground floras to start setting bud. The past season has been about average in this area.

South East: Most beekeepers are desperately waiting for rain to shift bees on to winter conditions. Small pockets of banksia and styphelia are yielding in Ngarkat and Messant National Parks. Some beekeepers are preparing to extract their surplus honey. Bees are holding well for almonds.

Northern: Upper Too dry, desperate need of rain for spring ground flora prospects. Blue gum is flowering but not a lot of use because, with the dry warm weather, most will be gone before spring. Production for the season just concluded has been average to below average.

Northern: Lower Patchy budding of peppermint produced a medium yield and E. gracilis still yielding in some areas.

Central: Contrary to all expectations, cup gum, pink gum and blue gum all yielded well in autumn, ground flora pollens supplied a good brood nest. Bees are now settling in for winter which, at this stage, is looking very dry.

Riverland: White mallee flowering well, but there is no pollen at all, so bees will start going backwards quickly now. Still waiting for the break in the season.

Kay Lambert

Crop and Stock Report New South Wales

Mugga ironbark in the central west did very little with next to no honey produced. Spotted gum on the south coast is yielding very well and should continue until August.

Napunyah country is still very dry and the prospect of a good crop of honey being produced is not looking good unless good rains fall in the next two to three weeks.

Canola plantings in the central west have all but finished but rain is needed in the south also for paterson’s curse.

Overall good rain is needed in most inland areas of the state.

Very little change to stocks with light honey in short supply and, in general, all honeys will be in short supply come spring.

Eddie Podmore

Crop Report Victoria

There is very little to add to last month’s report. Honey production has virtually ceased for season 2000-2001. Dry weather continues throughout the northern half of the state and the first frosts have begun to appear. There is general concern that winter rainfall may be deficient due to another predicted El nino phenomenom, putting at risk at least spring prospects for honey production and hive build up. Some apiaries have been moved to the south coast of NSW for spotted gum and others to the Channel country of northern NSW and southern Queensland for Napunyah. This country is suffering badly from dry conditions and the expected winter crop from this area will be curtailed unless good rains provide relief. Banksia in western Victoria is again disappointing. This species is an important overwintering resource when it flowers well and represents a great springboard for early hive build up prior to almond pollination migrations. Bees will enter winter in good hive strength. However, if the winter remains dry and relatively warm, consumption of stores by colonies will need to be carefully monitored.

Linton Briggs

Quarantine Report

Varroa preparedness workshop & competency training

We have just completed a very successful workshop in Canberra. Each State had at least one representative from industry plus Government attending as well as AQIS officers. I was very pleased with the commitment given by the industry representatives and it is a good sign for our industry.

There is the second phase of training that will take place in northern New South Wales in mid July.

There will also be one day seminars organised within each State where the readiness teams will be brought together to be familiarised with what they will be expected to do in the event of an incursion and to also get some training.

At the workshop we had representatives from New Zealand who gave us the Government perspective and the industry perspective of what happened in the New Zealand incursion. We were able to glean some very good points from them and some of these will be incorporated in the review of the Ausvet Plan.

Access to the USA

I have spoken with Biosecurity Australia in Canberra and the problem we are having at the moment is that the administration in the USA was frozen prior to the Presidential election and has not yet been unfrozen. It is very frustrating but there is not much we can do until it is unfrozen.

Illegal importation

AHBIC has circulated a copy of the letter that as been sent to the Attorney General in response to what industry considers an inadequate sentence handed down. We will have to await the outcome of that letter.

Port surveillance

We have been given some valuable data by Dr. Helen Bernard at the Canberra workshop and this will now have to be examined as we review what sort of numbers we need for an effective port surveillance program. It was encouraging to see the interest that now exits in this program.


Over the past few months, I have been thinking about our priorities for what we should be looking out for. It is obvious after the New Zealand incursion and the work of Dr. Denis Anderson that we have to re-think what our priorities are. I am hoping to have something prepared for the AHBIC AGM on this subject.

Trevor Weatherhead

Crop Report - Queensland

Reports from the Channel Country indicate honey is flowing steadily from Yapunyah. The only pollen being gathered in quantity is Yapunyah. Rain would greatly improve the prospects for honey and pollen production in that area. Palmer’s protein patties are being fed in large quantities. Bees are holding but may have to leave the area early to rebuild colony strength for summer flows. Rain would also attract many more beekeepers to the area, many having hung back due to the dry conditions.

Narrow Leaved Ironbark is budded in some areas but not a general budding. This source may be useful for building or holding colony strength. Tea Tree flowered late and enjoyed good weather for once allowing many coastal beekeepers to produce a small surplus and provide winter stores following the disastrous summer months.

Grey Ironbark is reported to be setting bud but will need rain to ensure a crop. Gum Topped Box has knocked many hives around. Production was below average for this source.

Prospects indicate honey yield will be below average at least until late November. Colony strength is highly variable with good build flows few and far between. Very little honey is held by producers.

Bill Winner

Honeybee on Flower