Australia Transitions to Management Stage in Varroa Mite Emergency Response
Last week, the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) officially announced that Australia has transitioned from eradication to the management stage in our national Varroa Mite Emergency Response. While this marks a shift in our approach, it's crucial to understand the significance of this decision.
Acknowledging Sacrifices Made
During the eradication attempt over the last year, countless beekeepers and bees made immense sacrifices. These efforts were not in vain; they were for the sake of the nation's ecological environment, honeybees, beekeepers, agriculture and other related industries, our food security, and consumers of honey. It's essential that we reflect on and appreciate the dedication of these beekeepers.
The Challenge of Varroa Eradication
The question arises: Did Australia ever stand a chance to completely eradicate Varroa after its detection in Newcastle in June 2022? We may never know, but one thing we do know, the government and industry have put up an almighty fight in terms of collective resources and funding. However, this transition offers opportunities to look for silver lining as it brings a renewed focus on our environment and honeybees.
Opportunities Amidst Challenges
Australia now has a unique opportunity to raise awareness about honeybee health, moving away from heavy reliance on chemicals to treat Varroa mites, such as breeding bees with better hygiene, using heat treatment which kills the mite but not the bees etc. As a producer of the world's purest honey, Australia can maintain this status by emphasising holistic hive management measures, including honeybee nutrition with its rich indigenous resources.
The Path Forward: Bee Health Matters
A honeybee colony's health hinges on numerous factors, including ample nutrition to resist stressors like parasites (Varroa mites), diseases, infections, and insecticides. Considering the multifaceted challenges honeybees face today—ranging from pesticide exposure to monoculture food scarcity potentially leading to colony collapse disorder (CCD) —innovative solutions are imperative.
Gather By's Innovative Approach
At Gather By, we've crafted an innovative agribusiness model that prioritises honeybee health. Australian farmers and Traditional Owner communities are successfully implementing our Medicinal Honey Forest model. It supplements Manuka bushes with carefully selected fodder plants, naturally boosting honeybee nutrition throughout the entire year. This approach keeps hives in place, reducing migratory stress, chemical exposure, and the risk of parasites and diseases.
Restoring Ecosystems, One Hive at a Time
Our apiaries are surrounded by diverse plants that not only benefit honeybees but also restore ecosystems, benefiting all pollinators and living organisms. In these challenging times for honeybee health, Gather By's commitment to sustainable practices and holistic hive management stands as a beacon of hope for the future.