Canola spraying places bee colonies at risk, AHBIC

The recent outbreak of a western yellow virus in Australian canola crops could have serious flow on effect on the nation’s bee industry.

To combat the outbreak, canola growers have been spraying their crops with chemicals that according to the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC), are toxic to bees. The council issued a warning last night, encouraging beekeepers to move their hives away from canola, the Weekly Times Reports.

According to AHBIC executive director Trevor Weatherhead, the spraying is occurring in South Australia, Victoria and possibly NSW.

“It’s a widespread issue and we want beekeepers to know if their bees are within the 10km radius of canola they should shift them quick smart,” AHBIC executive director Trevor Weatherhead said.

Ballarat Beekeeper, Gavin Jamieson said that the impact of fewer bee colonies will be felt on crops around the nation.

“Almond trees flower in late July and last year there were 125,000 hives placed in orchards around Mildura,” said Jamieson.

“The almond industry is in real danger if these bees are killed because there are no almonds without bees.”

A recent study published in the Royal Society Journal found that bees have the capacity to significantly contribute to food security as the pollination process increases crop shelf life, quality and yield.

Queensland based professor of agriculture ecology, Helen Wallace told ABC News that pollination is incredibly important to the future of Australian agriculture.

"One thing we don't tend to do very much in Australian agriculture is we don't manage bees very well," said Wallace.

"I think we've got a long way to go, we're doing a big catch-up. I think we're starting to realise the importance of it, but again, I don't think there's been a lot of work done."


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