Researchers abuzz over World Bee Day celebrations

12/05/2022 | 2 mins

Murray Street Mall will be a hive of activity to celebrate World Bee Day on Friday, 20 May.

Researchers from the CRC for Honey Bee Products at The University of Western Australia have banded together with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Bee Industry Council of WA for the event stall in Perth’s CBD.

CRC for Honey Bee Products chief executive Dr Liz Barbour said the public was invited to hear about latest UWA research achievements, ask questions, taste-test WA honeys, observe real bees in a display hive and more.

UWA researchers Dr Liz Barbour Shannon Holt Clarisa Castanos Jess Bikaun Dr Julia Grassl and Leonie Horrocks DISERImage: UWA researchers Dr Liz Barbour, Shannon Holt, Clarisa Castanos, Jess Bikaun, Dr Julia Grassl and Leonie Horrocks (DISER).

“This day is all about raising awareness of the importance of bees and other pollinators,” Dr Barbour said.

“A significant percentage of food production in Australia is reliant on pollination.

“The national value of honeybees as pollinators of agricultural and horticultural crops is $14 billion and crops such as almonds are 100 per cent reliant. This ranges to many other crops that need the flower visitation activity for fruit or vegetable quality.”

Dr Barbour said the greatest threats to bees and pollinators in Western Australia were pests and diseases.

“For honeybee disease detection, UWA has partnered with the CRC for Honey Bee Products to invent an accurate, real-time electronic ‘nose’ that will sniff out the disease American Foulbrood,” she said.

“The commercialisation of this invention has the potential to transform the disease detecting capabilities of the entire honeybee and pollination industry on a global scale.”

CRC for Honey Bee Products beekeeper Tiffane BatesImage: CRC for Honey Bee Products beekeeper Tiffane Bates will bring a display hive to the event.

More recently, Dr Barbour said there was growing concern regarding the lack of resources between food pollination events.

“The industry is pleased that native forest logging has been stopped, as the best nectar and pollen flows come from the older, mature trees,” she said.

“However, with climate change, we are continually challenged with shifting flowering times and the increased number of fire interventions.”

The UWA School of Agriculture and Environment and The UWA Institute of Agriculture Associate Professor Bryan Boruff is working to overcome these challenges.

Professor Boruff’s research team is developing a geographical information spatial tool to assist beekeepers with selecting optimal apiary sites.

Dr Barbour encouraged everyday Western Australians to help support their local bee population.

“Plant natives in your garden so there is food for all flower visitors,” she said.

“For hobby beekeepers – make sure there is enough food in the area for your bees all year, take biosecurity seriously, and regularly inspect your hives.”

Media references

Rosanna Candler (Communications Officer, The UWA Institute of Agriculture) +61 08 6488 1650

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