Media Releases

MONDAY, October 11, 2021

Bumper Jarrah honey crop threatened by prescribed burning plan

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WA’s rare and valuable jarrah honey flow is under threat this year because of plans for prescribed burns which take in big areas of jarrah trees in bud on Government controlled land.

 

Many beekeepers are expecting jarrah trees, which only flower every two to five years in good conditions, to put on a bumper flowering this year.

 

Brendon Fewster, the Chair of the peak industry body Bee Industry Council of WA (BICWA), said that last year had been a poor season for honey production in WA but this year’s excellent rains had created a sense of optimism of good honey flows.

 

“While all beekeepers, of course, recognise the need for sound forest management and prescribed burning before summer, we urge all the Government agencies involved to work with the bee industry to time burns so as to protect the jarrah flowers,” he said.

“Most of the jarrah honey produced comes from approved apiary sites on Government land.

 

“Jarrah honey, because it is increasingly recognised as having medicinal properties similar to or greater than New Zealand’s Manuka honey, is the most valuable for beekeepers to produce.

 

“Demand for it is one of the reasons that the value of honey exported from WA has more than doubled in the past five years.

 

“Having established new markets it is important that we are able to maintain them.”

 

Mr Fewster said the viability of many beekeepers relied on receiving premium prices for Jarrah honey in the years that the trees flowered strongly.

 

“Prescribed burning in the jarrah forests while the trees are in bud or flower will mean many beekeepers will lose significant income and the state will lose export markets.

 

“Fire history plays a key role in site productivity. With Jarrah trees taking almost a year to flower after buds start to form, widespread burning in autumn and winter is causing trees to abort half-formed buds, even where well-managed ‘cool’ burns are done.

 

“While burned sites can be used after 5 years, many sites won’t return to full productivity for 10 years.”

 

“Our request is simply for some flexibility around the timing of prescribed burns depending on when beekeepers plan to move their hives onto approved sites they pay a fee to use.”

 

Bee Industry Council of WA (BICWA)

WEDNESDAY, September 8, 2021

FOREST DECISION WELCOMED BY WA BEEKEEPERS

WA beekeepers’ peak industry body has welcomed the decision by the WA Government to cease logging in native forests.

 

Bee Industry Council of WA chair Brendon Fewster said the South-West Jarrah, Karri and Marri forests were vital for the production of valuable table and medicinal honeys and pollen.

 

“In WA there are about 4000 beekeepers with 52,200 hives, including 157 commercial beekeepers who manage more than 50 hives each,” he said.

 

“We applaud this decision.  It will mean resource security and provide many sustainable jobs in our beekeeping industry, and we will be able to, at last, deliver on our potential.

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Agritourism is becoming more popular, and the preservation of our forests opens many opportunities for our industry, allowing the public to learn about this fascinating social insect.

 

“Our beekeepers are heavily reliant on a critical mass of mature native forests to sustain strong, healthy bee colonies capable of producing honey and performing pollination services year-round.

 

“Young and immature vegetation that we see in regrowth and logged areas does not produce adequate pollen or nectar, the two critical foods for bee survival.

 

“This decision to stop logging in native forests is so important for the honey industry because, for several years, beekeepers have needed to rely on remnant pockets of mature forests for honey production and bee health.

 

It is also a great relief for the growing horticulture industry. Pollination service demand for managed honey bees is growing, and resource is needed to feed the bees year-round.

 

“Too much of our honey-producing forests have already been degraded by the drying climate, especially by logging and fire,” he said.

 

This announcement is imminent and builds an integral part for the next Forest Management Plan 2024-33. The bee industry council is recognised as a key industry stakeholder and takes part in the extensive consultation phase, which will commence now. “We will represent our beekeepers and community to enjoy the South West forests for many years to come.”

 

Brendon Fewster is a Gingin commercial beekeeper and Chair of the Bee Industry Council of WA, which represents WA beekeepers, including amateur and commercial apiarists.

FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2021

Forest Review must consider honey industry contribution to community

 

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WA beekeepers are world leaders in producing table and medicinal honeys and pollen, with much of it produced from the amazing Jarrah, Karri and Marri forests of our South-West.

 

Our industry today comprises of about 4000 beekeepers with 48,600 hives, including 157 commercial beekeepers who manage more than 50 hives each.  Our commercial hives total 32,500.  Honey, wax and pollen production totals between $30 million to $50 million each year.  In 2019 WA honey exports topped $8.1 million.

 

In addition, the value of pollination by our bees of commercial food crops and agriculture is estimated to be more than $1 billion a year.

 

With the announcement by the Government of the launch of a community survey on native forests subject to the Forest Management Plan, I want to urge everyone interested in the future of our forests to make their views known.

 

Traditionally, the FMP has been heavily weighted to the native forest logging industry with inadequate consideration given to the value of other sustainable forest industries, such as beekeeping, tourism and recreation.

 

Our beekeepers are heavily reliant on mature forests to sustain strong, healthy bee colonies capable of producing honey and performing pollination services year-round. Young and immature vegetation does not produce adequate pollen or nectar, the two critical foods for bee survival.

 

With 90 percent of the South-West global diversity hotspot areas having been already cleared, and the remaining forests being fragmented by current logging activities, our beekeepers are increasingly reliant on remnant pockets of mature forests for honey production and bee health.

 

It is imperative that the remaining mature forests we still have are protected from logging.

 

Declining rainfall, climate change, fires (wild and controlled), and disease are also severely limiting honey production in these forests.

 

Resource security is the biggest challenge facing our industry.  Too much of our honey producing forests have already been degraded, especially by logging.

Acknowledging the need for timber supply in WA, BICWA would like to see this achieved through a 100% transition out of native forest logging into plantations and farm forestry, providing flow on benefits to things like erosion control, salinity and shelterbelts for livestock.

 

A new management plan for our South-West forests is required every 10 years under the Conservation and Land Management Plan 1984, with the current plan due to expire in 2023.

 

BICWA, the unified representative body for the bee and honey industry in WA, is pleased that Environment and Climate Action Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson has opened up the consultation phase this early in the process.

 

This is a once in a generation opportunity for the 4000 registered beekeepers, as well as all lovers of honey, and agricultural industries dependent on bee pollination, to ensure the Government is made aware of the importance of the honey industry and the socio-economic benefits of stopping logging in remaining mature forests.

 

We must get the settings right for forest management for the next decade.

 

BICWA has the expertise and energy to contribute to the development of the next FMP and we look forward to being involved throughout the process.

 

But first, please make your views known in the community survey, which is open until August 1.

You will find it at https://wabsi.mysocialpinpoint.com.au/wa-forests

 

Do it for the bees.

THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 2021

BICWA welcomes WA government decision to release community and industry survey 'The value and use of Western Australia's native forests now and into the future'.

The Bee Industry Council of Western Australia is very pleased with the announcement by the new Minister for the Environment, Amber-Jade Sanderson, to release a landmark community survey asking West Australians and industries what the future use and management of the forests of the South West should look like.

 

The survey aims to understand what the WA people and other forest related industries, like beekeeping, want to see in the upcoming Forest Management Plan (FMP 2023-2033). The FMP has traditionally been heavily weighted towards the native forest logging industry with inadequate consideration given to the value South West forests play for other sustainable forest industries such as beekeeping, tourism and recreation if left unlogged.

 

BICWA Chair Brendon Fewster said "BICWA is grateful for the opportunity provided by Minister Sanderson and the WA government to allow easy and transparent contribution from thousands of beekeepers throughout the state. What happens in our state forests affects all levels of beekeepers from hobbyists right through to full time commercial businesses. This is a welcomed first step in the forming of the upcoming Forest Management Plan 2024-2033."

 

"Resource security now and into the future is the single biggest challenge facing honey production and thousands of farming families reliant on bees to pollinate their crops. It's not just about stopping further loss of mature native vegetation in our Jarrah and Karri forests, but also increasing the amount of mature native vegetation available through much needed restoration of degraded landscapes. A significant portion of our most highly valued honey producing forests have been heavily logged already, we must see change now for the resilience of our industry and its associated economic benefits to agriculture and food production" Mr Fewster said.

 

BICWA stresses that this is a once in a generation opportunity for the 4000+ registered beekeepers in WA to contribute to what the next 10 years will look like for beekeeper resource access and encourages every West Australian to take the short amount of time required to contribute through the survey.

 

The survey can be found at https://wabsi.mysocialpinpoint.com.au/wa-forests?fbclid=IwAR18P5u7PNjoJQD_iQOU7LEcmBuq3LrHWHi-dywfvSw4o2Ub4KZ_7EN6O18

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2020

Honeybee venom found to kill aggressive breast cancer cells


Honeybee venom has been found to induce cancer cell death in aggressive breast cancer according to new research by a team at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and The University of Western Australia. Using the venom from 312 honeybees and bumblebees in WA, Ireland and England, Dr Ciara Duffy tested the effect of the venom on the clinical subtypes of breast cancer, including triple-negative breast cancer, which has limited treatment options. Results published in npj Precision Oncology revealed that honeybee venom rapidly destroyed triple-negative breast cancer and HER2-enriched breast cancer cells. 

Media statement attached. For video and images CLICK HERE
Please note the researcher is based in the UK and has limited availability for an interview.

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