CRC Honey Bee Products

Research Programs

The CRC for Honey Bee Products is trans-disciplinary across four research programs (with the first program split into existing and new flora resources), driving innovation within the industry to address challenges and meet export demands.

Existing Bee Flora

This program mapped the melliferous flora across Australia and assessed impacts on this resource.

New Bee Flora

This program investigated new melliferous flora to create high-value honey bee products and healthy bees.

Honey Bee Health

This program created new tools and knowledge for honey bee health management.

Honey Bee Products

This program investigated the chemistry and bioactivity of honey bee products for traceability, quality and health benefits.

Hive To Customer

This program developed a traceability system linked to honey assurance with a focus on the export market.

Industry Challenges addressed

  • Low-value honey bee products
  • Nomad beekeeping culture
  • Need more managed beehives and beekeepers
  • Losing apiary sites
  • Low biosecurity
  • Lack of entry opportunities

The CRC for Honey Bee Products worked towards value-adding, de-risking, re-tooling; training SMEs; re-stocking to make beekeeping an attractive business.

Industry Challenges

There are a number of key barriers and challenges in the industry as it currently operates, which keep hobbyist and amateur beekeepers from becoming professional. The CRC will deliver resources to develop and grow the industry in Australia.

Low prices of honey bee products originating from Australia do not reflect their true value as unique and pure. Endemic flora, together with regulated isolation, has created the opportunity to produce rare honey bee products, and develop a niche market.

Approved tests by which the quality of honey bee products is measured for international appreciation are unavailable to beekeepers and packers across Australia. These chemical tests need to be supported with clinical peer reviewed health claims so that exporters have confidence in their marketing. Tracking honey bee products from bush to shelf will be the basis of the high value chain.

Native bush bee hive sites are critical for the health of bees, and we are losing them for various reasons. Climate change, especially the extremes we are now experiencing more frequently, bring fire and flood. Land use and policy changes block beekeepers from many of their sites. We have to find a way to protect and create new hive sites to keep our bees healthy.

Chasing the next flowering event to keep the bee hives alive and healthy, and maintaining a honey bee product output is an art at present. Predicting a flowering event bees can feed from would not only save traveling time but ensure the best Australian flora is captured.

Quick and accurate recognition of bee diseases is needed with inexperienced beekeepers entering the industry and new diseases arriving in Australia. A rapid diagnosis and response to these diseases is needed to keep Australia as a haven for healthy bees for the rest of the world.

Lack of an entry pathway to beekeeping to create a new generation of beekeepers has been identified as the limiting factor. This Cooperative Research Centre will provide opportunity, training and new start-ups.