World Bee Day raises awareness about the essential role these hardworking insects play as pollinators.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said a number of bee pests and diseases are a potential risk to our honeybee industry, environment and to Australia’s native bee populations.
In recognition of the crucial role that bees play in supporting food production, the government granted $1.5 million to AgriFutures in 2019 for research to ensure bee health and promote the crucial role bees play in supporting our food production.
“Australia is home to over 1,500 species of native bees, the vast majority of which are actually solitary species,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Pests and diseases of bees not only have the potential to devastate bee colonies but may also impact on the health of native plants should our bees be unable to pollinate them.
“Alongside our hardworking European honeybees, Australia’s native bees also play an important role in pollinating commercial crops such as mango, blueberry, eggplant, tomato, almonds, and macadamia, as well as native plants.
“The Australian Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer is working with Plant Health Australia to investigate the biosecurity risks to our native bees.
“The project will look at ways to control pathways that may allow exotic bees or pests to enter Australia.
“The result will be improved responsiveness for biosecurity risks to Australian native bee species for the protection of native ecosystems and biodiversity.
“The project will deliver other benefits including identifying threats for better decision-making about resource allocation and preparation and strategies to protect Australian native bee populations.
“It will also complement existing efforts and recent improvements through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to manage biosecurity risks to the European honeybee.”
“The recent summer of bushfires and drought have had a significant impact on our floral reserves and on pollinators. As part of the recovery, beekeepers are currently eligible for grants of up to $75,000 to pay for clean-up and business reinstatement activities.