Help save the honeybee by making the right plant choices 15 Jan 2013

Every Australian can help boost the survival of honeybees and protect the food we eat that depends on their pollination services, by growing the right plants and trees.

A new guide is now available, highlighting pollen and nectar planting choices from the backyard to the bush which will provide food for honeybees. Everyone can make a difference by considering bees when they are planning small and large scale planting.

Chairman of the Pollination Program R&D Advisory Committee, Gerald Martin, says there’s increasing public concern for the wellbeing and survival of global honeybee populations, so this guide is timely.

“65 per cent of agricultural production is reliant on pollination by bees to produce fruit, vegetables and seeds and honeybees are coming under increasing pressure from urbanisation, bushfires, changing agricultural practices and changing land management practises,” Mr Martin said.

“Pests and diseases are an ever increasing threat, including the deadly bee pest Varroa mite which has wreaked havoc across the globe. Australia is one of the last countries free of the mite but it is accepted by scientists that it will eventually reach our shores. Small hive beetle and American foulbrood are major pests that our beekeepers already have to manage.

“The guide lists herbs, shrubs, trees and other plants, broken up into suggestions for domestic gardens, streetscapes, urban open spaces, rural environments and stationary beekeeping, and further categorised by type of climate.

“Growing plants that provide food for honeybees can be accomplished at any scale, from a pot of herbs on a balcony to thousands of hectares of revegetation or pastures. Many of these plants are also beneficial to a range of other insects, birds and small mammals that live on nectar and pollen,” he said.

The guide has been developed with funding from the Honeybee Program, which is managed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).

Bee Friendly - A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators is available in the RIRDC website at

Hard copies can also be ordered online.