Bees and border challenges T he 2020 almond pollination season was not like any seen before. The beekeeping industry has battled through one of the worst droughts in living memory, seeing honey production decline by up to 90 percent in some parts, and then witnessing the incineration of millions of hectares of precious natural forest destroyed by devastating bushfires. Now more than ever, beekeepers are being recognised for the significant part they play in the supply chain when it comes to food production. The declaration of a global health pandemic and closed state borders across almond growing regions meant the migration of hives was not what it would usually be. More than 227,000 bee hives from all over the nation were required to pollinate orchards in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. A coordinated approach was required by the state governments, state apiarist associations and the ABA to ensure the timely delivery of hives. The Queensland Beekeeping Association (QBA) State Secretary, Jo Martin (pictured left) recognised from the outset of the pandemic the impact the border closures would have for not only the beekeeping industry, but also the pollination crops starting with almonds. Jo played a lead role in helping to find a solution for Queensland beekeepers and shares her story.
HIves moving on to an almond orchard. Image credit: Rick Jensen. Opposite page: Roadside camping. Image credit: Murray Arkadieff.