Preparing live bees for export 28 Sep 2016

Well-known Tasmanian apiarist Lindsay Bourke has shared his knowledge in preparing live bees for export in the first episode of a series of industry best practice videos.

Mr Bourke, who is also the President of the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association, said Australia exports an average of 17 pallets of bees at the end of each season to beekeepers in Canada where Varroa destructor is prevalent.

"Australian bees are very valuable to Canada as they urgently need them," Mr Bourke said.

"Each pallet is worth around $110,000 dollars, so it provides extra money for us at the end of our season from our excess bees, but most importantly it’s really good for our fellow beekeepers on the other side of the world," he said.

This season, Mr Bourke supplied eight pallets for export.

In the best practice video, Mr Bourke explains the process he uses to package live bees, including excluding his queen bees in the initial extraction phase, keeping the bees cool throughout both the smoking process, weighing the bees for packaging, as well as the biosecurity measures necessary to export to Canada.

Chair of the Honey Bee and Pollination Program’s Advisory Panel, Michael Hornitzky, said the new series of videos will highlight the practices of some of the best apiarists in Australia.

"This is a great resource that will offer productive peer-to-peer advice," Dr Hornitzky said.

"More best practice videos will be added to the RIRDC YouTube channel over the coming 12 months, including topics such as queen bee breeding, introducing queens in to hives, hygienic testing techniques and barrier systems for pest and disease management."

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