Stanthorpe Honey operators Nick Nelson and Jolene McLellan.
Stanthorpe Honey operators Nick Nelson and Jolene McLellan.

Funding gives lifeline to honey bee industry

IN light of last week's World Bee Day the Federal Government has granted $1.5 million in research funding to promote the crucial role bee's play in supporting our food production.

Stanthorpe Honey owner Jolene McLellan said funding couldn't come at a better time.

"The last 12 months have been pretty challenging," Jolene said.

The change in climate has not only impacted the region but the honey bee industry, Australia's native bee population and the environment.

Sharing the operations of the business with her partner Nick Nelson, Jolene said the effects of the prolonged drought had been impacting the regions floral reserves and pollinators.

"Things obviously aren't flowering so the bees were having trouble collecting the pollen."

It wasn't only the drought proving to be difficult, Jolene said September's bushfires played a part too.

"The bushfires impacted a lot of what the bees were feeding on too," she said.

"We lost a couple of hives and the beekeepers we look after also lost a couple of hives.

"It wasn't just the fire itself but the smoke too."

Despite the challenges, Jolene said her business and the honey bee industry continue to battle on.

"We have missed out on doing a lot of the local markets because of coronavirus. We got creative and started doing home delivery and organised some packages for Mother's Day.

"We are surviving and the bees are surviving too - they are hanging in there.

 

Honey from Stanthorpe Honey.
Honey from Stanthorpe Honey.

 

"We just try and stay positive because where is being negative going to get you."

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the project will also deliver other benefits.

"The project will look at ways to control pathways that may allow exotic bees or pests to enter Australia," Mr Littleproud said.

"The result will be improved responsiveness for biosecurity risks to Australian native bee species for the protection of native ecosystems and biodiversity.

"The project will deliver other benefits including identifying threats for better decision-making about resource allocation and preparation and strategies to protect Australian native bee populations."

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