Snapshot of Western Australian beekeeping industry

A bee site in Western Australia, Mikey Cernotta, Pemberton Honey Co

Researchers from the University of Western Australia conducted a survey in 2020-21 to value bush apiary sites in the southwestern area of the state and provide economic data on the industry.

The paper is publicly available and provides a wealth of insight into the industry that will be important for demonstrating the impact of government decisions on the beekeeping and pollination-dependent industries.

Commercial bee sites

On average commercial beekeepers used 12 sites. The most common reason for not using a site they had access to was because there was no nectar flow (77%). This was followed by fire (44%), they had access to better sites (33%), and that logging had occurred at the site  (23%).

Sites managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions made up 36% of the sites used, and privately owned sites made up 45%. 61% of commercial beekeepers that responded produced honey in Jarrah Forest, while 52% did so on the Swan Coastal Plain, highlighting the importance of these resources for the industry and those that depend upon them for pollination.

Jarrah Forest sites affected by bushfire can be used 4 years after a fire, but take 13 years to return to 100% production on average. Sites on the Swan Coastal Plain can be used after 4 years, but take 12 years to return to 100% production on average. The average time for sites to 100% recover in Mallee is 37 years, in Esperance is 29 years, in Murchison-Coolgardie is 26 years, in Geraldton Sandplains is 20 years, in Avon Wheatbelt-Yalgoo is 12 years, and in Warren is 11 years. Fire is clearly a big issue for the industry.


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