Sweet displays on show at World Bee Day celebrations in Perth

Staff reporterCountryman
UWA research officer and CRCHBP beekeeper Tiffane Bates, left, CRC for Honey Bee Products chief executive Liz Barbour, and DPIRD principal agribusiness development consultant Gerard Leddin will be among the experts on hand at a World Bee Day display in Perth on Friday.
Camera IconUWA research officer and CRCHBP beekeeper Tiffane Bates, left, CRC for Honey Bee Products chief executive Liz Barbour, and DPIRD principal agribusiness development consultant Gerard Leddin will be among the experts on hand at a World Bee Day display in Perth on Friday. Credit: Supplied/DPIRD

Apiary enthusiasts will have the chance to quiz experts and see honey traced from the hive to the jar as part of World Bee Day celebrations in the Perth CBD on Friday.

Visitors will get the buzz on research efforts under way to foster and protect the Australian honey bee industry, and view a selection of bee-friendly plants and a safely enclosed hive.

The sweet display will be set up in the Murray Street Mall from 8am to 3pm, with a host of experts on hand to deliver demonstrations and answer questions from the public.

They will include experienced staff from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Cooperative Research Centre for Honey Bee Products, the University of WA and the Bee Industry Council of WA.

DPIRD principal agribusiness development consultant Gerard Leddin said World Bee Day aimed to raise awareness of the importance of bees and beekeeping.

“WA has a thriving bee industry with approximately 4400 beekeepers — commercial and hobbyist — who own more than 53,000 hives,” he said.

“Our local honey bee industry is notable for its high quality produce and freedom from pests and diseases.”

Visitors will be able to learn about the latest research to support the safety and integrity of honey products, including leaps in traceability.

For example, WA researchers recently developed a test for nectar “signatures” in honey according to CRC for Honey Bee Products chief executive Liz Barbour.

UWA PhD student Khairul Islam, who is investigating honey signatures, inspects a beehive with his son at last year’s World Bee Day display in the Murray Street Mall.
Camera IconUWA PhD student Khairul Islam, who is investigating honey signatures, inspects a beehive with his son at last year’s World Bee Day display in the Murray Street Mall. Credit: Supplied/DPIRD

“Traceability of honey products from the hive site to the jar can now be done, and all our WA monofloral honey nectars within the honey can be identified and confirmed with a simple test,” Dr Barbour said.

“This testing can also look at the sugars to check the honey is pure from the honeybees and whether the honey is raw, or in other words, has not been heat treated and still has the pollen in the honey.

“When you look at honey production on a global scale, WA’s monoflorals are very rare. This is why we are working towards making affordable testing available for beekeepers to help provide evidence around the purity and source of their honey.”

Another recent research milestone saw the development of a sensor to improve monitoring of the bacterial disease American foulbrood, one of the few bee diseases present in WA.

Meanwhile, beekeepers will be provided an update on a bee flora management decision tool to assist in managing hive locations.

There will also be information on the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program, which operates sentinel hives around WA to detect new incursions of bees from overseas which could introduce potentially devastating pests and diseases.

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