Oz Bees Going to Canada this season. US next?

Canadian authorities have made no decision on ending live bee imports from Australia as a result of the out-of-control Asian honey bee invasion in northern Queensland. Australian Honey Bee Industry Council executive director Trevor Weatherhead says in a news letter he is having discussions with the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on what we can put in place to ensure that the Australian industry does not lose export markets of live bees. 

“There are noises coming out of Canada that if we lift the restricted area on July 1, 2013 and do not have some sort of control program for the Asian bee in its place, they may ban all exports of live bees from Australia,” he says. “This is the last thing we want to happen. “The transition (from eradication) to management plan finishes on June 30, 2013 at which stage governments walk away.” But Canadian Honey Council executive director Rod Scarlett tells Bee Culture he checked with the lead provincial apiculturalist who handles this file nationally and he indicated that no decision has been made. 

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency initiated a CFIA risk assessment and based on the outcomes of the risk assessment a decision will be made in consultation with stakeholders including the Canadian Honey Council, provincial apiculturalists and the Canadian Association of Professional Apiarists,” Scarlett says. “For this season shipments will not be effected as bees will arrive from Australia before the expiry of the restricted areas regulation.” 

Meantime, Weatherhead says industry-funded research is being carried out on what hopefully will provide an answer to the barrier that the U.S. has in place for imports from Australia. “The barrier is what diseases are present in both the European and Asian bees in the Cairns area,” he says. “This is not to say that if we answer this question they will not come up with another excuse."

By Alan Harman