The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Honey Bee Products, which works to sustain and improve Australia’s honey bees, is celebrating World Bee Day (20th May).
Since starting in late 2017, the CRC had attracted more than sixty researchers from a diverse range of scientific, arts and engineering fields to focus on the honey bee.
This is not surprising as due to their combined effect on ensuring pollination services, the value of managed and wild honey bees to the agricultural and horticultural industries in Australia is estimated at $14.2 billion.
“Work focused on honey bee health and honey bee products allows the industry to better understand and promote the benefits and the quality of local honeys,” said CRC for Honey Bee Products CEO Liz Barbour.
“The CRC for Honey Bee Products has created a Geographic Information System database of honey bees favourite flora, tracked the timely production of nectar and pollen for their sustenance and equated the value of each floral zone for honey production,” Dr Barbour explained.
“This is helping provide knowledge for a growing industry and allows them to harness crucial bee foraging resources.”
While Australia is known for its peroxide-bioactive Eucalypt honeys, amongst the flora the CRC genetically-defined as bioactive, it is Leptospermum species that can produce the highest-grade Manuka honey.
Protecting the integrity of local honey products is also important, particularly in export markets.
“Australia-wide, the honey bee industry has its own quality assurance system, B-QUAL and the CRC partnership will provide the digital platform so that honey bee product traceability from our wild forests to customer can be assured,” continued Dr Barbour.
Australia is the lucky country for honey bee health and the CRC is aiming to keep it this way.
The CRC is also developing a new set of tools including real-time disease detection and long-range electronic monitoring as well as building the immunity-defence of our bees and malnutrition detection to avoid colony collapse.
“With more than 30 projects running in the CRC it is an exciting place to bee.”
World Bee Day raises awareness of the importance of bees and beekeeping, informing the public of beekeeping events around the world.