Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Asian Bee Threatens Death of Industry; Beekeepers Desperate for Federal Funding to Stop Spread of Hives Down East Coast

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Asian Bee Threatens Death of Industry; Beekeepers Desperate for Federal Funding to Stop Spread of Hives Down East Coast

Article excerpt

Byline: SHANNON NEWLEY

BEEKEEPERS from the Southern Downs have joined forces to canvass the federal government for funding to help fight the Asian honey bee.

Infestations of the aggressive bee have been found in North Queensland, and scientists are predicting swarms could travel down the coast and inland, reaching Coffs Harbour in as little as five years if more eradication programs are not put it place.

There are concerns theaggressive bee could compete with the Europeanhoney bee and wipe out the billion-dollar industry.

Beekeepers Gary and Mitch Lucas of Tenterfield Bush Honey, a father-and-son team who have hives in both New South Wales and Queensland, have become heavily involved in the campaign.

They have been attending rallies in Canberra and meetings around northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland trying to raise awareness of the threat of the foreign bee.

Gary Lucas described the bee, which can't be farmed, as C[pounds sterling]uselessC[yen], and said this was the most important issue the Australian bee industry had ever faced.

He said funding for the eradication program had run out, and despite swarms of the bees being continually found around Cairns; the federal government was yet to commit funding.

C[pounds sterling]All of the state governments of Australia were asked to give funding for the control and eradication of the bee, but only Queensland got on board,C[yen] Gary said.

C[pounds sterling]But the money has run out and now we asking the federal government forassistance.

C[pounds sterling]We need $10 million over two years, but we don't need it next week, we need it yesterday. Beekeepers certainly can't afford to do it.

C[pounds sterling]The eradication program in Cairns has found 355 swarms since the bee arrived on the mast of a yacht in May 2007. …

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