World Bee Day celebrated on 20th May raised awareness about the essential role these hardworking insects play as pollinators.
Australia is home to over 1,500 species of native bees, and alongside European honey bees, they play an important role in pollinating commercial crops such as mango, blueberry, eggplant, tomato, almonds and macadamia, as well as native plants.
Currently a number of bee pests and diseases are a potential risk to the honey bee industry, environment and to Australia’s native bee populations. In recognition of the crucial role that bees play in supporting food production, the government granted $1.5 million to AgriFutures last year for research to ensure bee health and promote the crucial role bees play in supporting food production.
The Australian Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer is working with Plant Health Australia to investigate the biosecurity risks to native bees and to improve responsiveness to these risks.
The recent summer of bushfires and drought have had a significant impact on floral reserves and on pollinators. As part of the recovery, beekeepers are currently eligible for grants of up to $75,000 to pay for clean-up and business reinstatement activities.