(The Conversation) The HMS Endeavour’s week-long stay on the shores of Kamay in 1770 yielded so many botanical specimens unknown to western science, Captain James Cook called the area Botany Bay. Today, however, the site better reflects 20th-century European exploitation of the Australian landscape than it does early or pre-British Botany Bay. Yet not all is lost. “We studied pollen released from flowering plants and conifers, which can accumulate and preserve in sediment layers through time. Looking at this preserved pollen lets us develop a timeline of vegetation change over hundreds to thousands of years.”
(The Islander) The Kangaroo Island Beekeepers Group wants to track down all honey producers operating on the Island so that bushfire funds can be fairly distributed. “As a collective we need to decide how we can use this money to benefit the KI beekeeping community. However, we do not have a complete contact list for the Island’s beekeepers.”
(ABC) After months of prolonged drought, followed by devastating bushfires, vital rain has rescued an Australian farmer’s honey production after a barren 2019. But just like the wine industry is dealing with grapes affected by smoke taint, there is expected to be a flavor impact on honey as well.
(Wheen Bee Foundation) ANZ Seeds of Renewal, a grant program that helps build sustainable rural communities in Australia, recently presented a $15,000 check to the Foundation. The funds will help save the endangered green carpenter bee population on Kangaroo Island.
(The Conversation) “Native pollinator populations have been decimated in burned areas. They will only recover if they can recolonise from unburned areas as vegetation regenerates. Since the fires, Australia’s beekeeping industry has been pushing for access to national parks and other unburned public land… But our native pollinators badly need these resources – and the recovery of our landscapes depends on them. While we acknowledge the losses sustained by the honey industry, authorities should not jeopardise our native species to protect commercial interests.”
(Bloomberg) The fires destroyed about 6,000 hives in New South Wales state alone. More than 2,000 hives were reported destroyed in fires on Kangaroo Island, in the Adelaide Hills and in the state’s southeast. Five million hectares of eucalyptus forest where bees feed have also been razed.
The impact of the Australian wildfires has been devastating and terrifying. They pose a very real danger to the country’s immensely diverse insect populations. But the bushfires may have put one species of native Australian bee on the teetering brink of extinction.
(New York Times) One-third of Kangaroo Island, a government-declared bee sanctuary off South Australia, has been burned so far this fire season, threatening the “last remaining pure stock” of Ligurian honeybees in the world. Foreign honeybees have an advantage, because they can abscond with their queen in the face of threats. Native stingless bees can’t — their queens can’t fly.