The AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program aims to support RD&E that will ensure a productive, sustainable and more profitable Australian beekeeping industry and secure the pollination of Australia’s horticultural and agricultural crops.

Key components of the program

Key components of this program include increasing productivity and profitability of beekeepers, reducing the incidence and impact of pests and diseases, and increasing understanding of the role of flora in honey bee management.

About the industry

The Australian honey bee industry produces between 20,000 and 30,000 tonnes of honey annually, with approximately 5000 tonnes exported to destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, UAE, China and Hong Kong. Seventy per cent of Australian honey is produced from native flora.

While honey is the major commercial output of the honey bee industry, there are a number of other products that add to the income of honey bee businesses, including paid pollination services, beeswax production, queen bee and packaged bee sales.

In 2016, the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) determined the gross value of production (GVP) of the beekeeping industry as $98 million. This relatively small GVP understates the industry’s value to agriculture and the economy in general through pollination services and, potentially, the value of honey and honey products in medical uses.

There are approximately 12,400 registered beekeepers in Australia with around 528,000 hives (AHBIC 2014). Over 70% of hives are operated by commercial beekeepers with more than 200 hives. Most commercial apiarists operate between 400 to 800 hives and some have more than 3000.

The beekeeping industry faces a number of risks, including the entry and spread of exotic pests and diseases (for example, the Varroa mite), economic pressures on the honey producing industry and reduced access by beekeepers to areas of native flora. The impact of an exotic pest or disease incursion is considered the most significant risk.

Industry Advisory Panel

AgriFutures Australia is committed to working with industry to deliver research and development outcomes. We work in partnership with advisory panels to decide on research priorities and to make investment decisions each year.

RD&E plan

The AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Strategic RD&E Plan (2020-2025) has identified six high-impact, far-reaching objectives to benefit the industry:

1. Identify and develop technology for improved hive performance.
2. Increase capacity within research community and future industry leaders.
3. Improve understanding of nutrition best practice and disease interaction.
4. Improve understanding of the benefits of honey and develop chain traceability.
5. Improve understanding of pollination strategies that impact crop yields and improve hive health.
6. Improve understanding of floral resources as assets for the Australian honey bee industry.

Program news

Contact

Annelies McGaw Manager, Research
02 6923 6913| 0407 987 738
Annelies.McGaw@agrifutures.com.au

Industry Associations

Related Projects

About your levy

Australian primary industries that choose to invest in the levies system prescribe the amount of levy or charge applied to a commodity under the Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Act 1999Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999, National Residue Survey (Customs) Levy Act 1998 and the National Residue Survey (Excise) Levy Act 1998.

Levy and charge revenue can be directed to biosecurity preparedness and emergency plant pest and animal disease responses, residue testing, marketing and research and development. It is the decision of a primary industry to determine the proportion of how a levy or charge is directed to each of these activities.

The Levy is collected and distributed via the Department of Agriculture. For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment website.

AgriFutures Australia also receives Commonwealth matching funding based on 0.5% of the aggregate GVP of all AgriFutures Australia’s levied industries (Arena 3) or half of AgriFutures Australia’s eligible expenditure – whichever is the lesser. This includes expenditure in non-levied industries Arenas 1, 2 and 4 irrespective of their funding source.

 

AgriFutures Australia’s Board allocates the Commonwealth matching funding to each levied industry program. The respective programs will receive 50c per dollar of eligible expenditure (subject to availability of Commonwealth matching funding).

The total program budget comprises of the R&D levy allocation, Commonwealth matching funding (allocated by the AgriFutures Australia Board) and third party contributions (where appropriate).

View the AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program income and expenditure for 2019-20 statement.

Related Publications

04.06.21

Final report: Improving biosecurity and better understanding bee health in Australia

04.06.21

Final report summary: Improving biosecurity and better understanding bee health in Australia

25.05.21

Final report summary: Investigating factors that influence chalkbrood outbreaks in Australia

20.05.21

AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program 2021 RD&E Snapshot

Related Resources

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AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program Industry Update Vol.2 No.2

Thank you for bee-ing inspiring | Five from the hive | Fact Sheets: Fungicides and bees in almonds, canola, apple & pear

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AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program Industry Update Vol.2 No.1

$1.5m to promote the importance of bees | Bee management for drought and fire affected areas | Advisory Panel head west

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AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program Industry Update Vol.1 No.5

The latest news from AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program.

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AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program Industry Update Vol.1 No.4

The latest news from AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program.

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AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program Industry Update Vol.1 No.3

Project updates from our AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program.

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AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program Industry Update Vol.1 No.2

Project updates from our AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program.

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AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program Industry Update Vol.1 No.1

Project updates from our AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program.

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Honey Bee and Pollination Program Five Year Research, Development & Extension Plan 2014/15 – 2018/19

This Five Year Plan outlines the investments that will encompass the RIRDC Honey Bee and Pollination RD&E Program

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Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators

This guide gives ideas and choices of species to bring about improved outcomes for honeybees and the Australian pollen - and nectar - using fauna, including mammals, insects and birds.

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Catching Small Hive Beetle: How to prepare and deploy lantern traps

A Queensland-based research team led by Dr Diana Leemon has completed a three-year research project as part of the AgriFutures™ Honey Bee and Pollination Program, investigating the development of an external attractant trap for SHB in an attempt to reduce numbers affecting hives.

Watch Video

Hygienic Behaviour Testing Methods – a best practice video from the Honey Bee & Pollination Program

Lindsay Bourke from Australian Honey Products in Launceston, Tasmania, explains his technique for testing bees for hygienic behavior, and the importance of the practice to limit pest and disease incursions.

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The Barrier Management System – a best practice video from the Honey Bee & Pollination Program

Dave Leyland from Western Australia’s Bees Neez Apiaries explains how he implements the Barrier Management System in his day to day activities to maximise biosecurity.

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Breeding Queen Bees – a video from the Honey Bee & Pollination Program

Robbie Charles from Tasmania’s Blue Hills Honey demonstrates his preferred best practice methods for breeding Queen Bees.

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Breeding Queen Bees – a best practice video from the Honey Bee & Pollination Program

Two of Australia’s best apiarists’ demonstrate their preferred best practice method for breeding Queen Bees.

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Preparing live bees for export – a best practice video from the Honey Bee & Pollination Program

Tasmanian apiarist Lindsay Bourke demonstrates best practice when preparing live bees for export.

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Selecting an apiary site - a 'how to' video from the Honey Bee & Pollination Program

Effective education of established and new beekeepers will encourage adoption of best management practices, which is important for the long term future of the industry.

Watch Video

Re-queening a honey bee colony - a 'how to' video from the Honey Bee & Pollination Program

Effective education of established and new beekeepers will encourage adoption of best management practices, which is important for the long term future of the industry.

Watch Video

Providing a pollination service - a 'how to' video from the Honey Bee & Pollination Program

Effective education of established and new beekeepers will encourage adoption of best management practices, which is important for the long term future of the industry

Watch Video

Constructing & repairing bee hives - a 'how to' video from the Honey Bee & Pollination Program

Effective education of established and new beekeepers will encourage adoption of best management practices, which is important for the long term future of the industry.

Watch Video

Artificial insemination (AI) of queen bees - a video from the Honey Bee & Pollination Program

Effective education of established and new beekeepers will encourage adoption of best management practices, which is important for the long term future of the industry - the use of 'how to' videos to communicate such information is an effective method of education

Watch Video

Latest News and Events

07.06.21

The future of honey: From a pantry staple to the medicine cabinet

Honey has long been used as a traditional medicine. From Ancient Egyptians, and Romans, to the Russian army in World War I, honey has been used to treat wounds and intestinal diseases. However, its place in modern medicine has been limited because of a lack of scientific evidence to support its use. Research led by the University of Technology Sydney and funded by AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program aims to provide evidence required by modern medicine to reposition honey from a staple in the pantry to a health food. The work seeks to use honey as a prebiotic to promote good digestive health and to help combat the onset and progression of gut related disease.

05.05.21

The Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel farewells highly regarded colleagues

In 2020-21 the AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel farewelled Dr Doug Somerville, Danny Le Feuvre and Tiffane Bates. Doug, Danny and Tiffane all served on the Advisory Panel at a pivotal time for the Program and the industry. While their reasons for retiring differ, the sentiment is the same; they are sad to be leaving a group of people who are committed to the industry they represent.