September 2001

All rights reserved This publication is copyright 

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
Superbee Honey Factory
T & M Weatherhead
Walkabout Apiaries
Warral Apiaries
Weerona 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.


Honey May Help Muscles Recuperate After Workouts.

Sure, honey is sweet to your taste buds, but new research shows that it also is "sweet" to your muscles, and this natural carbohydrate may just be the booster your body needs after a hard workout.

Previous studies have shown that the combination of carbohydrates and protein supplements are beneficial to boosting muscle recovery, but they did not look at what types of carbohydrates. Using honey as the carbohydrate source, researchers found that when it is combined with a protein supplement, subjects maintained better glucose levels, or blood sugar levels, which is an important part of post-workout recovery.

"The beneficial thing with honey is that it helped maintain glucose levels positively after two hours of workout," says Dr. Richard Kreider, lead author of the study and director of the Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory at the University of Memphis, Tennessee.

Researchers studied 39 weight-trained athletes who underwent an intensive weight-lifting workout and then immediately consumed a protein supplement blended with sugar, maltodextrin (a synthetic carbohydrate) or honey as the carbohydrate source.

Researchers found that only the honey group maintained optimal blood sugar levels throughout the two hours following the workout. Additionally, subjects taking honey showed favourable changes in a hormone ratio that indicates a positive muscle recuperative state.

Researchers say glucose, a form of sugar, is the body's main fuel. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, occurs when blood levels of glucose drop too low to fuel the body's activity. Carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are the body's main dietary sources of glucose.

"After workout, you need to get an insulin increase to promote protein metabolism," says Kreider, "The worry is that if your insulin goes up, your blood sugar level may go down and cause hypoglycemia. But honey maintained the blood sugar level well," according to Kreider.

Other sports nutritionists say it is heartening to know that something as inexpensive as honey can do an equally good job as some of the pricey supplements in the market including maltodextrin and Endurox. "The name of the game is recovery," says Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, and owner of High Performance Nutrition, a sports nutrition consulting firm in Seattle, Washington. "Honey is affordable and widely available. To know that it works for recovery is good news for everyone who is fitness minded."

The study was funded by the National Honey Board and conducted in collaboration with IMAGINutrition, a nutritional research and technology think tank located in Aptos, California. It was presented at the annual National Strength and Conditioning Association meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Source: CBSHealthWatch
Copyright: © 2000 Medscape, Inc.

Export of Queen Bees to the USA

The Risk Assessment for the Australian Bee access case is currently undergoing a final APHIS internal review. The normal process is that it would then go for legal clearing prior to placement in the Federal Register for public notification as part of the US Federal Rule-making process. This could be anticipated to take about 120 days. Then it is ready for placement in the Federal Register. Once in the Federal Register, it will have either 60 or 90 days for comments. Then any comments made have to be addressed. When they are addressed, normally the Rule is proclaimed. The Rule would allow for the importation of bees from Australia.

With the (still new) Bush Administration, there is currently a freeze on new Rules until all staff (political) appointments are made. This has not occurred yet, but should have occurred by the time this Rule will be made.

So, in conclusion, we could expect it is going to take at least another seven to eight months before the Rule is finalised.

Pat Boland
Principal Veterinary Officer - Biosecurity Australia

Vale - Kevin Jackel

It is with regret, the North Eastern Apiarists' Association (Vic) informs the Australian beekeeping community of the sudden passing at his home of Wangaratta beekeeper and honey exporter, Kevin Jackel, on Saturday 8th September 2001. The NEAA joins with the Australian beekeepers in extending sincere condolences to his wife Norma and children Lyle, David, Dennis, Sandra, Louise and Meredith.

Kevin, a members of a well known pioneer beekeeping family in Victoria was a significant contributor to the progress of the industry in Victoria and Australia during his lifetime. Kevin served as a national peak body chairman (FCAAA), VAA president and executive councillor, NEAA president and executive member, among his many industry appointments. Kevin reached the age of 82 years.

In due course, Kevin's formal obituary will be published.

Linton Briggs

Plant Health Australia

The new Plant Health Australia (PHA) website ( is now up and running. You can join a mailing list to keep informed of patest PHA news and events and download copies of tendrils (weekly report), media releases and other publications such as the Corporate and Annual Operational Plans. The funding and compensation discussion paper and stocktake of contingency plans are also available. PHA has included links to all member sites (unless requested otherwise). Please feel free to suggest further links to PHA, or to link to the PHA site from your web page. Feedback and comments on the new PHA site or suggestions about features or information you would like to see included are welcome

Australia's Insects Now On-Line

A new website will make it easier for people to identify the scientific name of more than 2,500 insects and allied organisms in Australia that have accepted common names. The Australian Insects Common Names (AICN) web site - - represents the joint efforts of CSIRO Entomology and the Office of the Chief Plant Protection Officer, part of AFFA.

OTC Resistant AFB

Much discussion has taken place in the industry concerning the OTC resistant AFB and accordingly, Dr Michael Hornitzky writes:-

Oxytetracycline (OTC) resistant isolates of Paenibacillus larvae (AFB) have now been found in the USA, Canada and Argentina. There are no reports of these resistant strains causing any more serious disease that the OTC sensitive strains. I suspect that beekeepers think that the resistant strains are worse than the sensitive strains in the USA, Canada and Argentina because they do not respond to OTC treatment.

I also think that the term "mutant" strain is inappropriate. Mutant suggests that something has happened genetically which makes the organism behave differently. This has not been demonstrated with these AFB isolates. All that the OTC resistant strains have been demonstrated to acquire is the capacity to resist OTC. This on its own does not make a "mutant".

Dr Michael Hornitzky

Report on Telephone Hookup 19 September, 2001 to Discuss The Finding Of Mites On Imported Bees at Wallgrove


I was phoned on Friday 14 September by Dr. David Banks from Biosecurity Australia who advised that mites, suspected to be varroa, were found on escort bees accompanying queens that had been received at Wallgrove. Dr Banks suggested that he would hold a telephone hookup to discuss the issue. I agreed to be part of the hookup.

That night I contacted Ray Phillip in his capacity as AHBIC Chairman to advise him of the details and to invite him to participate in the telephone hookup.

Telephone hookup

On Wednesday, 19 September, 2001, a telephone hookup, convened by Dr. David Banks was held. Participants were:-

David Banks - Biosecurity Australia
Pat Boland - Biosecurity Australia ( Pat has taken over from Dr. Ian Peebles)
Michael Hibbert - AQIS Canberra
James Walker - AQIS NSW
Bruce White - NSW Agriculture Dept.
Ray Phillips - AHBIC
Trevor Weatherhead - AHBIC

Denis Anderson, who was in Indonesia, was on the phone hookup at the start but dropped out in the early stages and was not able to be re-connected.

The background is that there were six (6) queens imported from Poland and 12 queens from Italy through the quarantine station at Wallgrove. In line with the normal quarantine protocol, all queens and escorts were examined. The cages from Poland contained about 30 escorts each and those from Italy contained about six (6).

Of the six (6) cages from Poland, 3 were found to have one (1) escort in each with a mite, suspected of being varroa. Of the 12 cages from Italy, 2 were found to have one (1) mite, suspected of being varroa, on an escort. The mites were alive and tucked up under the segment on the bees and only the margin of the mite was protruding. This is in line with what Dr. Denis Anderson told us to expect. The mites are to be sent to CSIRO for positive identification.

There were no tracheal mites, Tropilaelaps mites or other mites found in or on any escort or queen.

The queens are now being held in queen cages with Australian escorts in line with the current protocol.

The matters were discussed at length. The procedures are in line with AHBIC recommendations for processing queen bees that were found to have varroa and this policy would be consistent for escorts.


When the queens have been with the Australian escorts for their designated time period, the escorts will be killed and examined and the queen bee will be gassed with carbon dioxide and thoroughly examined. The queen had previously been examined whilst in a glass tube. Whilst there is no reason to doubt the examination carried out in the glass tube, by gassing the queen, it allows for greater scrutiny of the queen. At this time, it is not expected that we will find any varroa but this action will give us a high degree of confidence that there are no mites on the queen prior to her introduction into the nuc colony in the flight cage.

Acaricide strips are normally placed in the nucs in the flight cages. As these mites may be acaricide resistant, the records of importation are to be examined and the opposite synthetic pyrethroid (SP) to what was used overseas will be inserted. We know that there is a problem with acaricide resistance to SP's in Italy and we could suspect it to be the case in Poland.

The Australian escorts will be examined in line with the present protocol.

As grafting is carried on with larvae less than three (3) days old, the chance of any varroa laying eggs on the larvae is very minimal.

The nuc colony will also have bees tested by the sugar shake method and also capped brood examined for the presence of mites. It is not expected that we will find any but these actions are being taken as an added precaution.


Industry can be well pleased with the level of skill of the officers concerned in picking up the mites. These officers are James Walker and Bruce White. Industry had been advised that our import protocols needed revision. This incidence has shown that the existing protocols are very relevant as well as workable.

Industry had examined the import protocols at the AGM in Hobart and we had foreseen that issues may arise and consequently had developed a policy that could be immediately put in place. Industry is to be congratulated on its foresight.

Industry can thank David Banks for his keeping industry up to date.

With the possibility that the mite may be acaricide resistant, I am to look at a new product called Apiguard that may be adopted for use in the nuc colonies in the flight cages for future consignments. If the varroa are resistant to SP's then there is no point in using SP's in the nuc. Formic acid was discussed as an alternative at Hobart but there is a danger of loss of queens using formic acid. Industry will be informed of the developments with Apiguard.

Trevor Weatherhead


Crop Report - Western Australia

The very dry winter this year and coming of a Wandoo honey flow in Autumn has left most beekeepers with very poor hives. Also reports of up to 50% deaths in some apiaries have made the job of rebuilding hives very difficult.

With honey only starting to be gathered now due to the failure of the trificata on the coast to flower and yield honey, this has meant a late start to making nuklies and rebuilding hives.

Canola is providing good pollen and honey but the Salvation Jane is very patchy.

Honey stocks held by packers are low, with less than 40 days bottling honey held in stock. Prospects for this coming summer look good, thankfully, with the Jarrah flow at this stage looking like it could be above average. The Red Gum should be ok this year as it was very poor last year. We just need more rain.

Prospects for pollination contracts are good, with most hives moved onto the orchards in the south west but beekeepers are finding it hard to supply hives to regular clients.

Kim Fewster

Crop Report - South Australia

Parts of the state have received good, soaking rains, but follow up rains will be needed.

West Coast - (Upper): Euc. diversifolia has finished. Little to no canola flowering in the upper region, with no prospects until after Christmas.

West Coast - (Lower): Euc. diversifolia still flowering and producing nectar in southern most area. Production from some canola while some has finished. Incrassata has started to flower, expected to be in full flower in October.

South East - (Upper): Most bees have been moved off almond pollination and onto canola and mallee. Fifty percent of mallee has been rain affected but is budded well and should yield well with fine weather. Good rains have helped Jane and lucerne prospects for late spring.

Northern - (Upper): Prospects for ground floras with the good rains are promising but will require further rain to reap the promising potential.

Northern - (Lower): Canola yielding in some areas on the plains. Blue gum has mostly gone in the hills but canola, which is later in the hills, is now flowering.

Riverland: White mallee is well past its prime but yielding, onion weed is very poor and turnip is yielding good pollen.

Central: Blue gum flowering in some areas, Jane starting to flower but not yielding. Blue mallee is still flowering and yielding well.

Barossa: Early canola yielding nectar well. Bees that have returned from almond pollination are dong well on canola. Some blue gum is yielding, which is earlier than usual.

Kangaroo Island: Mild winter has bees in very good condition coming into spring. Coastal mallee well budded or starting to flower. Blue gum and pink gum still flowering and yielding well when there are days warm enough to allow bees to fly and gather nectar. Canola crops very good and just starting to flower. Heavy rains in early spring should ensure good summer flowering by stringy bark and sugar gum. Apiarists will need to manage hives well to minimise swarming. Great opportunity to select and breed from best performing queens to enable culling of queens with undesirable characteristics.

Kay Lambert

Crop Report - Victoria

National Climate Centre spring forecasts (September - November) reported last month appear to be happening. Following some welcome statewide rain immediately after the last report, another dry, above average warm period has set in. If the trend continues with below average rainfall during the period, spring crop prospects from patersons curse will be shortened considerably.

Limited honey extraction has begun in some districts, originating from late yellow gum, mallee species, canola, white stringy bark and red box.

The best reports are coming in from Gippsland, although the cold snap at the end of August impacted on hive populations. This region, separated from the rest of Victoria by the Great Dividing Range, against the statewide trend, experienced above average winter rainfall and although a dry period has set in, sub soil moisture is at optimum levels for the maintenance of spring flora and later flowering eucalypts. Red box has been yielding modestly but, due to the warm winter, flowering is nearly finished. White stringy bark yielded a small crop. Yellow box will follow, but the budding is not general throughout the region. Clover remains a good prospect at this stage.

The above average winter rain has given rise to the expectation that the short budders will do something in the autumn and yield. In the higher altitude country, there are patches of peppermint, blue gum and wanna gum which could also be useful from mid season onwards.

In western Victoria the late August/early September rains filled dams for the first time in three years. Soil moisture levels received a welcome boost, which should help eucalypt flora to yield and which may assist banksia ornata prospects next winter.

For the rest of the state, river red gum and yellow box remain the stand out summer prospects with budding general and statewide. The trick will be, if the spring dries out too quickly, for beekeepers to maintain colonies in good nick to take advantage of these expected flows.

The dry warm winter has suited hive population maintenance. There is enough spring flora yielding nectar and pollen to continue a good build up of populations.

Last month's forecast for an average crop in 2001/2002, somewhat dependent on what the short budders may or may not do in the new year, is still holding at this stage.

Linton Briggs

Crop and Stock Report - New South Wales

Most hives have been moved from the spotted gum on the south coast onto canola, mugga ironbark or paterson's curse sites.

Mugga ironbark and white box in the central west are yielding good honey and this should continue until late October.

As reported earlier, yellow box and green mallee are both holding good bud and, with good recent rains, should produce honey flows when flowering commences. Paterson's curse in most districts should produce a good honey flow if follow up rains fall in early October.

At present there does not appear to be much on offer in the autumn unless we have a wet summer.

Honey is still in very short supply and this being so, the price of honey has risen. In some cases two dollars per kilogram is being paid.

Eddie Podmore

Crop Report - Queensland

Queensland remains dry to drought affected. Some isolated falls of rain have resulted in limited budding. Honey yield in recent weeks has been confined to Narrow Leaved Ironbark and Blue Gum. A surprise honey crop was produced from Inland Bloodwood, a very shy yielder from the Channel Country. Bimble Box will be the next potential flow in that area.

The general feeling is that the season has started of much better than last year and with good Spring and Summer storms the coastal regions may produce an average crop.

Areas of Yellow Box have flowered on the Darling Downs, far too early to yield a crop. White Box extracted in Queensland for the most part came from Northern NSW. A few Queensland beekeepers have dropped south to work Canola. Canola has not yielded all that well due to continuing dry conditions.

Hives are reported to be in reasonable condition considering the low base they are coming from following three very poor seasons.

Honey producers are not holding surplus honey in QLD.

We all hope that the corner has been turned and an average year of honey production occurs.

Bill Winner

Quarantine Report

Our quarantine does work

You will read in this newsletter my report on an incident and consequent telephone hookup re mites being found on escorts in two (2) shipments of queen bees from overseas.

Our quarantine protocol has stood the test and those who said the protocol was out of date and not with it have just been proved wrong. We can also be pleased with the level of expertise available to check the bees.

Access to the USA

Still no real action here. We have received advice that basically says we will not get access in this coming season. There are still the problems with the change in Administration of the Bush Government and the events of the past week with the terrorist attacks will take up time. All we can do is keep trying.

One disappointing aspect from my point of view, is the attitude of the Prime Minister's Department here in Australia. When I heard that the Prime Minister was going to the USA, I asked our Executive Director, Stephen, to contact the Prime Minister's Department and put the problems we were having with the access question on the agenda for the PM. The reply was that it could not be done. A very disappointing attitude.

Drone semen import protocol

The countdown is on to receiving the draft very shortly.

State based training

Planning is well under way for the State based training of the Response Teams. Most training is happening within the next few months.

Trevor Weatherhead