Bees to get biosecurity boost

Bees to get biosecurity boost

Cattle National
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Apiarists face new regulations in national code of practice.

Biosecurity in the state’s bee industry will get a boost, with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice being introduced on Thursday.

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This comes after changes to the Livestock Regulations 2013.

Aimed at increasing productivity and improving pest and disease control, the changes to the regulations follow on from community and industry consultations in 2017.

PIRSA Biosecurity SA Bee Biosecurity Officer Teagan Alexander said the honey industry was a vital part of our agricultural sector.

“We need to ensure the best possible management of bees which are vulnerable to so many diseases,” she said.

“Good biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility – from the hobby beekeeper with one hive to the major commercial apiarists.

“SA is recognised internationally for our honey products. Only through strict biosecurity measures can we continue to protect such a precious industry and the livelihoods of hundreds of families.”

The honey bee industry nationally developed the Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice, which was endorsed by the Australian Honey Bee Council in July 2016.

There were 2034 beekeepers registered with Biosecurity SA in 2016–17, an increase from 1100 in 2015–16. There was a total of 68,000 hives recorded in SA in 2016–17.

Honey production contributes about $11m to the state’s economy, while the value of pollination services has been estimated at $550m.

Among the new requirements, beekeepers must record specified biosecurity-related management practices that are undertaken; bees must be kept in approved hives that, if not located at the apiarists residence, be additionally branded with their name and telephone number; beekeepers must provide water suitable to sustain bees at a distance of not more than 200 metres from any hive; beekeepers with 50 or more hives must successfully complete a course in bee pest and disease management approved by the Chief Inspector.

To assist the industry in adjusting to the changes, a phase-in period will occur with PIRSA Biosecurity SA to hold a series of industry information sessions across the state in April and May.

  • Kingscote, April 26, 6-8.30 pm, Department of Environment and Water Office, Dauncey Street, Kingscote;
  • Struan, April 30, 6-8.30 pm Struan House, via Riddoch Highway, Struan;
  • Clare, May 7, 6-8.30 pm, Department of Environment and Water Office, 155 Main North Road, Clare.

The South Australian Apiarists Association will also host an information session on May 17.

  • Details: Contact the SAAA to register interest on 0419 982 102 or secretary@saaa.org.au
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