July 2002

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Address: Level 12. 52 Phillip Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Telephone: 02 9247 1180
Mailing Address: PO Box R838, Royal Exchange NSW 1225 Facsimile: 02 9247 1192
Email Address: Website:
ABN 63 939 614 424

Voluntary Contributors to AHBIC

AB’s Honey Koonoomoo Apiaries
Australian Rain Forest Honey R & E McDonald
Australian Honey Bee Improvement Programme PB & CM McPherson
IJ & PA Oakley
Australian Queen Bee Exporters RC & DJ Phillips Pty Ltd
Australian Sungold Queen Bees Pollination Association of WA
Harold Ayton Queen-Bee-Ann Apiaries
Beechworth Honey R. Stephens
Beeline Queens Swan Settlers
Bradbury, GN and DJ Superbee Honey Factory
Bush Honey Stephen Targett
Capilano Honey Limited Tasmanian Crop Pollination Association
CE Mills Tasmanian Honey Company
Coopers Fine Foods T & M Weatherhead
Crop Pollination Association Inc Walkabout Apiaries
Dewar Apiaries Warral Apiaries
HL Hoskinson Weerona Apiaries
Hunter Valley Apiaries Wescobee Limited

AHBIC acknowledges the beekeeper suppliers who contribute via their packer and queen bee supplier to AHBIC. We also urge beekeepers to support those packers/queen bee breeders who contribute to AHBIC.

Does your honey buyer’s or queen bee supplier’s name appear on this list?
If not, then ask ‘why not?’

Election of Office Bearers

The AHBIC Annual General Meeting was recently held in Perth, Western Australia. Our thanks go to WAFF and all of the locals who assisted to ensure that the Annual General Meeting was a success. Office bearers are elected each year and those for the coming year are as follows:

Chairman Mr Raymond Phillips

Deputy Chairman Mr Ian Stephens

Executive Board Members

FCAAA H. Ayton G. Roberts
HPMAA I. Stephens R. Masters
NCPA D. Willmott
AQBBA T. Weatherhead

Committee Chairpersons

Quarantine T. Weatherhead
Food Safety E. Planken
Education S. Stephens
Resource B. McDonald
Disease H. Ayton

Committee Members

Quarantine K. Sunderland NSW
B. Beer SA
S. Fewster WA
W. Lamb QLD
G. Matthews VIC
H. Ayton TAS

Food Safety In respect of the Food Safety Committee it would be necessary for members to assist in the B-Qual Workshops and coordination of the B-Qual training.

S. Stephens TAS
K. Sunderland NSW
B. Pobke SA
R. Pavy WA
K. Gell VIC
P. Dewar QLD

Education E. Planken

Resource Committee C. Parker/P.Ewington TAS
G. Roberts NSW
D. Clifford SA
K. Fewster WA
B. McDonald VIC
D. McMartin QLD

Disease Committee B. Weiss NSW
H. Ayton TAS
K. Gibbs SA
S. Fewster WA
G. Matthews VIC
G. Sorenson QLD
D. Willmott NCPA
C. Wilson AQBBA

2003 Apimondia Conference:

B. McDonald
E. Planken
T. Weatherhead
B. Gulliford
B. White
S. Ware (Secretary)


The Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) held its 2002 AGM at the Inter City Motel, Belmont, WA, on Monday and Tuesday, 15th and 16th July 2002. Following is an overview of that meeting.


Messrs Jeff Davis and Keith McIlvride reported on the years activities and the financial situation of the Committee. It was interesting to note the significant ‘leverage’ obtained. On average, every dollar of the beekeepers levy attracts four additional dollars, one from the Government’s matching $ for $ plus around two more dollars from research organisations and other groups involved in research.

It was noted that the levy collection costs were relatively high at $16-$17,000 pa and this area needs to be looked at if there are to be any further cost savings.

Mr McIlvride drew attention to the revamped R&D Newsletter and the increased distribution, research publications are now on CD and that there has been an increase in sales, particularly in the honey bee area.


Mr Pat Boland spoke on various matters involving his Department. They are undertaking an import risk analysis on bee semen which could take up to two years to complete.

The access of live bees to the USA is still ongoing. It is felt that it will not be finalised this side of Christmas.

The port surveillance is going ahead well. They have agreed with AHBIC to undertake a review of the program to ensure as far as possible that sentinel hives are in locations which are suitable for the owner and that areas covered by sentinel hives are appropriate for detection of any incursions.


Mr Peter Bignell spoke on the interaction with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), formerly known as Australian New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA), and the various Government Acts. He advised that AQIS had recently been instructed by FSANZ to undertake testing for pesticides and chloramphenicol.

Mr Bignell was asked why more testing could not be undertaken on Chinese honey. It was understood that FSANZ had to authorise any increase in testing before AQIS could act. Mr Bignell was also questioned in relation to the quality assurance programs of other countries and whether Australia should insist on certification and audit documentation. Mr Bignell advised that, in some cases, these criteria were insisted upon.

National Residue Survey (NRS)

Dr Heloisa Mariath and Ms Gail Dowling spoke on matters pertaining to the NRS. It was noted that the European Union (EU) now insist on honey samples coming from producers as distinct from packers. This meant a higher collection cost.
It was stated that in the financial year 2001/02, 489 honey analyses have been undertaken: 177 for antimicrobials; 187 for organochlorines, organophosphates and synthetic pyrethroids; and 125 for heavy metals. The number of samples actually collected and tested is less than 489 as multiple analyses are undertaken on some samples.

Plant Health Australia

Mr Rob Delane addressed the meeting regarding the activities of his organisation of which AHBIC is now a full member. He advised that, unlike the animal industries, they have a huge number of possible exotic diseases in the plant industry. At last count these were in excess of 1,400.

Cost sharing was an issue and he indicated that the traditional cost sharing basis for dealing with these incursions was out of date and this was one issue which required assistance from industry and governments.

Goodacre Award

Discussions were held as to whether or not a cut off date would be practicable for the receipt of nominations for this award. It was moved that there be a cut of date of the 1st March each year.

Natural Resources

Mr Bob McDonald spoke to his report of the recent meeting in Canberra. He highlighted the need to encourage the farm sector to increase planting of crops which produce pollen and the need to work with both government and the farming community to encourage the retention of native flora on farms.

It was resolved “That AHBIC:

1. Develop a strategic plan to include; - coordination; funding; research and marketing of resource issues.
2. Send annually to public land managers an update of industry concerns regarding resource management.
3. Hold a Resource Conference in conjunction with HBRDC regularly on a rotation basis between states.
4. Progress the implementation of outcomes of the Resource Conference held in Canberra on 30th April and 1st May 2002.
5. Recognise the importance of the preservation of yellow box and iron box on private lands (particularly in New South Wales).”

Disease Control Program

A document from Hassalls was discussed with most not in complete agreement with the document especially as most, if not all, have existing state disease control programs. It was therefore proposed
“That AHBIC coordinate with AHA in order to hold a national workshop with delegates from each state department, AHBIC and B-Qual to look at the possibility of coordinating state disease control programs into a nationally recognised program”.

Apimondia 2007

It was advised that the dates for the proposed Apimondia Conference in Melbourne were Sunday 9th September to Friday 14th September 2007. The presentation of the bid to host this conference will be made at the Apimondia Congress in Slovenia in 2003.


Concerns were expressed at the NRS budget and the cost of the program. It was moved: “That the NRS Committee review the NRS budget and hold discussions with AFFA, NRS, FSANZ with respect to reducing the cost to industry.”

“That any person or entity importing honey be required to test at their own expense for equal quality standards to domestically produced honey. Honey not tested should not be made available for use or sale in Australia.”

“That HPMAA move that AHBIC ask FSANZ to start testing all Chinese country of origin apiary products coming into Australia due to the known high risk of chloramphenicol residues.”

Constitution Amendments

Following discussions and further amendments, it was moved: “That the constitutional amendments as tabled by the Constitutional Committee contained in these minutes be adopted”

Bait Hives

It was resolved: “That AHBIC request Biosecurity, as part of the port surveillance program, the positioning of bait hives for the early entrapment of swarms in the port areas.”

Sector Bodies Funding

A proposal was put forward for the funding of sector bodies. It was felt that such proposal should first go before the Budget Committee for consideration before it can be passed by Council. Mention was also made that sectors can apply for 10% of their contributions to be made available. It was felt that the individual sectors should apply to the Budget Committee and put forward formal proposals for consideration.

Imported Honey Testing

Concerns were expressed regarding imported honey so it was moved “That AHBIC request that FSANZ adjust the low risk category of 5% to a higher risk category and increase testing of imported honey.”

The following motions were also passed.

“That AHBIC ask HBRDC that the tree deaths arising from the disease mundiella yellows be researched with a view to a treatment as the disease is widespread but little is known about it.”

“That the resource document figures (bee site numbers on public land) be updated as requested.”

“That any delegate elected to represent a sector on AHBIC shall be a full contributor to AHBIC either through their sector representative or in their own right.”

“That the NRS committee consult with FZANZ and AQIS on any perceived risks from imported and exported honey.”

“That, as part of the duties of the National Resources Chairman, provision be made for visitations with state resource managers/associations if necessary.”

“That AHBIC look at drawing up a privacy policy statement for use by all state associations.”

“That AHBIC look at the new national load transport legislation and advise all member bodies on implications for our industry.”

“That terms and objectives be developed for sub-committees by the AHBIC Executive.”

“That AHBIC endorse the composition of the 2007 Apimondia Bid Committee until the completion of the bid process.”

“That the 2003 Annual General Meeting of AHBIC be held in Queanbeyan, NSW.”

“That the meeting endorse the existing Apimondia Bid Committee until the 2003 Apimondia Conference. Namely: B McDonald, E Planken, A Fewster, T Weatherhead, B Gulliford, B White, S Ware (Secretary).”

“That the remuneration of Committee Chairmen and resources available to Committees be referred to the Budget Committee of the AHBIC Executive.”

Mr Dewar proposed a vote of appreciation to Mr Phillips for his work as Chairman over the past year and congratulated him on the successful year of AHBIC.

Mr S Fewster of WAFF thanked all members for attending the meeting and a vote of thanks was extended to WAFF for their hospitality.


Quarterly Levy Payments

AFFA has now advised AHBIC that changes to levy collections will come into effect next year. The effect of the change will be to reduce the administrative cost to industry.

The change from monthly to quarterly returns for honey is anticipated to commence from 1st January 2003, together with the other planned changes to the honey levy/charge. An amendment to the Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Regulations will be required to effect this change.

Labelling Of Honey

The AHBIC office continues to receive queries in relation to the labelling of honey. FSANZ has kindly provided the following advice:
The Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code defines honey, prescribes its composition and identifies the information that must be provided when labelling it for retail sale.


Standard 2.8.2 provides the following definition of honey:
the natural sweet substance produced by honey bees from the nectar of blossoms or from secretions of living parts of plants or excretions of plant sucking insects on the living parts of plants, which honey bees collect, transform and combine with specific substances of their own, store and leave in the honey comb to ripen and mature.
Composition of honey
Standard 2.8.2 also stipulates the composition of honey should contain:
(a) No less than 60 % reducing sugars; and
(b) No more than 21 % moisture
Labelling Requirements

Part 1.2 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code sets out the information that must be provided on foods that are required to bear a label.
The label on a package of pure honey for retail sale must include the following general information:
• the prescribed name of the product (i.e. honey);
• the lot identification;
• the name and business address of the supplier;
• date marking;
• nutrition labelling; and
Where the product for sale includes ingredients other than honey, the label must also include a list of ingredients and may be required to carry a declaration of key or characterising ingredients and components and/or a percentage declaration. If the product is pure honey, an ingredient label is not mandatory.
The label must also include a statement about the country of origin of the product.
Warning and advisory declarations
Under clause 4 of Standard 1.2.3 Mandatory Warning and Advisory Statements and Declarations, the presence of bee pollen in a food must be declared whenever present as:
• an ingredient; or
• an ingredient of a compound ingredient; or
• a food additive or component of a food additive; or
• a processing aid or component of a processing aid.
The definition of ingredient in Standard 1.2.4 is ‘any substance used in the preparation, manufacture or handling of a food’. As bee pollen is a substance intrinsic in the food i.e. bee pollen is naturally present in honey, it does not need to be declared.
Nutrition Information Panels
A generic Nutrition Information Panel can be used for all varieties of honey.
To calculate a Nutrition Information Panel, food composition data is required. Food composition data can be obtained either from food composition tables or databases, laboratory analysis, or FSANZ’s nutrition panel calculator, which has been designed to assist manufacturers. The calculator is available free-of-charge at
Legibility Requirements for Food Labels

Any information required in or on a food label needs to comply with legibility requirements. All food labels must present information so that it is legible, prominent and in English.

In order to be legible, information on food labels should be indelibly printed to withstand normal conditions of use and storage. Information should also be distinct, such that decorations and embellishments do not interfere with the legibility of the words on the label. There is no prescribed format for typeset, including font size, however, manufacturers should try to ensure that the information is presented in a type that is easy to read.

In order to be prominent, words, statements, expressions or designs required to be on food labels should stand out so as to be easily seen by prospective purchasers.

Additional Requirements
All food manufacturers and retailers must have regard to the broader legal environment of which the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code is a part. In Australia, this includes the Trade Practices Act 1974, the Imported Food Control Act 1992. In New Zealand, this legislation includes the Food Act 1981 and the Fair Trading Act 1986.
Meeting Dates Established

The following meeting dates have been advised for the coming year. Please mark your diaries where appropriate

Queensland Beekeepers Association 19-21 June 2003
New South Wales Apiarists Association 10-11 July 2003
Tasmanian Beekeepers Association 20-21 June 2003
Western Australian Farmers Federation- Beekeeping Section 29-30 May 2003
South Australian Apiarists Association 27-28 June 2003
Victorian Apiarists Association 12-13 June 2003

Honey Packers and Marketers Association 23 May 2003
National Council of Pollination Associations 13 July 2003
Australian Queen Bee Breeders Association Late May, 2003 - Woodburn
Australian Honey Bee Industry Council 14-15 July 2003 – Queanbeyan NSW
Federal Council of Australian Apiarists Associations 14 July 2003 – Queanbeyan NSW


Crop Report – Western Australia

WA is going through another drought, with some areas of the wheat belt reporting their lowest rainfall ever so far for the year. Conditions near the coast are a little better with a near average rainfall.

With all the fine weather and mild days, hives have been gathering nearly every day from the white flower and banksia that is flowering on the sand plain north of Perth. Hives are in good to very good condition. Beekeepers have started moving hives onto the coast, with the trifecata and parrot bush looking very good with an average crop expected. Beekeepers have been making up nukes over the past months so most hives should be in full production by the middle of the spring flow.

Canola and Salvation Jane crops are expected to be below average but may improve with a lot more rain.

Kim Fewster

Crop and Stock Report - Queensland

Spotted Gum continues to yield pollen and limited honey allowing colonies to maintain strength and collect a small surplus. The state remains very dry with 38 shires drought declared and another 40 drought affected. Rain is desperately needed. Some areas of Narrow Leaved Ironbark are well budded but dry. Hill Gum and Yellow Box are carrying bud but also need rain. Coastal areas may produce a crop closer to November. Blue Gum is flowering in the South East but not yielding honey at present. Early Grey Ironbark is also flowering, with reports of honey being produced.

The Channel Country continues to disappoint Queensland beekeepers. Many have moved on to Spotted Gum. Honey is available with pollen short.

There has been increased interest in sugar feeding to sustain colonies that are short of stores.

The threat of an El Nino continues to hang over our heads. The season has potential if we can get rain and spring storms.

Very little honey remains in beekeepers’ hands.

Bill Winner

Crop Report – South Australia

'Sub-soil' rains have not fallen for this season yet and the long range weather forecast is that there is a 60% chance of drier than usual conditions for the next three months. This does not augur well for spring ground flora prospects.

West Coast - (Upper) E.diversifolia flowering well in areas that are budded, not producing much honey due to cool weather not allowing bees to work. Bees are being maintained in reasonable condition. Due to later than normal flowering there should be some left to produce in early spring if conditions are favourable. Signs look promising for next season with good budding on some varieties of mallee i.e. black mallee, dumosa and socialis. (Lower) E.diversifolia is producing nectar and pollen and bees are building up. Cranberry is beginning to flower.

Northern - (Upper) Bees still in the area are over-wintering while others have been taken to their winter sites on the West Coast. Spring prospects will rely on more rainfall.
(Lower). Bees generally on their winter sites, some being prepared for almond pollination.
No sub-soil rains yet, but moisture adequate to date for the development of ground floras.

South East - Banksia is yielding in patches from strong bees with the crop only half finished. Most beekeepers are preparing their hives for almond pollination and expect to start shifting in late July. Prospects after almonds are canola or northern mallee, which are highly dependent on good rains.

Riverland - Next shift is to almonds. Most bees are holding better than expected, but honey supplies in hives may be a major problem come early spring.

Kay Lambert

Crop Report - Tasmania

Good rains have fallen throughout Tasmania with above average rainfall in June/July. Quite heavy falls of snow but little still lying. Practically no honey stocks left in packers’ hands. Serious shortage of packaged lines from now until new season crop in January 2003.

Shirley Stephens

Crop Report - Victoria

June 2002

At the time of writing, 20th June, the good news from Victoria was two fold. Firstly, good rains have extended across most of the state with 50mm (2 inches) being recorded in most districts, heavier in the north eastern foothill and mountain country. More snow has been falling on the peaks. Turnip is a pollen prospect in some Mallee areas and the first flowerings should begin in early July, prompting the acceleration of brood rearing.

The second piece of good news came from the Executive Director, Victorian National Parks, who informed the VAA Annual Conference that her department is more interested in helping the industry to grow in the Box Iron Bark ECC study area, than in hindering it through removal of bee sites from the area. Very few sites will be reviewed, and any removals will be compensated, where possible, with the addition of new sites.

The rains have once again lifted the spirit of optimism of beekeepers that next spring prospects will improve, in spite of predictions of drought. As reported last month, next season’s prospects, including the spring, can be more reliably assessed towards the end of winter.

July 2002

The 2002-03 season frost migrations have commenced with the movement of hives onto almonds in the lower Murray Riverland of Victoria and South Australia.

Early spring honey crop prospects from canola and Paterson’s curse remain obscure because the northern half of the state, despite promising falls last month, are not receiving enough rain to allow the plants to grow and develop normally. Canola germination in the lower Riverina of NSW was partly due to dry conditions, and although some flowering is beginning to appear, the prospect in terms of a honey surplus at this time is struggling.

However, in the business of honey production, things can turn around very quickly. To do so, substantial rain will need to fall in all districts during August and September. If rain does not fall in substantial quantities, then all spring ground flora prospects across the northern half of the state will be depreciated, hindering the build up of hives that is so critical to achieved during each spring.

Pockets of yellow gum are budded in Central and Western Victoria, as well as pockets of yellow box through Central Victoria. Given favourable weather, both species offer modest prospects for production in the first half of the season. Probably the best prospect in this region is a fairly general budding on messmate, flowering early in the second half of the season. The perennial wild cards are whether the short budders, grey box and iron bark, will bud to flower during the late summer/autumn period. We will not be able to determine whether they will set bud until late November, and again their likelihood to bud will be influenced by rainfall in the intervening period. In the North East, some bud has set on red stringybark. However, the budding is not general and it has set bud out of sync with its normal flowering frequencies, reducing its crop potential. There are no other significant eucalypt prospects in the North East this season.

On a brighter note, late, fairly general buddings on black box and yellow box have emerged, in the lower Riverina, and offer prospects for production during the first half of the season. Some pockets of mallee are also modest prospects in this region.

The business of forecasting honey crop yield is always a tricky thing in which to engage. Overall, given adequate rainfall soon and friendly climatic conditions throughout the season, enough prospects exist to produce a useful season's crop, somewhat contingent on what the short budders will do. On the other hand, further rain deficiency will continue to impact on the potential. We will have to wait and see.

Linton Briggs

Quarantine Report


I was again appointed as the Chair of the Quarantine sub-committee at the AHBIC AGM in Perth. Thank you to the delegates for their faith in me. There is a letter going to all State Response Team leaders advising them that they have been re-appointed to the sub-committee. Also an update of all people on their State Response Team is being sought along with as many contact phone numbers as possible.

Exotic Animal Disease Preparedness Training

With the appointment of the Apiary Officer in Western Australia, replacing Lee Allan, they have now started planning for their State based training. This would have occurred earlier but was held up with the delay in the appointment. Originally the position was to have been filled last December. If the appointment had occurred then, the training would have been completed by now.

Access to the USA

In his report to the AHBIC meeting in Perth, Pat Boland reported that the protocol has been agreed to by one committee of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and has to go to another. Hopefully we are now getting somewhere at last.

Drone semen import risk analysis

The official announcement has been made and the first 30 days for comments has passed. There were no comments. However, we now have to have another 30 day for appeals even though there were no comments. This 30 day period ends on 19 August. After this, the Technical Paper can be released for comment provided there are no appeals. Not sure how there can be any appeals when there were no comments but we must strictly follow the procedure. If we do not then someone can say we have not followed the correct procedure and we will be back to square one.

When the Technical Paper is released, all sector bodies will be advised so they can give due consideration and make any comments they see fit.

Overseas certification

As mentioned in my annual report, I have almost assembled the data to go to Biosecurity Australia to ask overseas countries to bring their requirements for certification into line with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) requirements. There are many offending countries and I do not see a quick resolution of the problem but every effort will be made to quicken the process.

Trevor Weatherhead