(University of California, Riverside) New research has found that native bees are better able to survive harsh climate events, like drought, in areas where naturally occurring fires are allowed to burn.
(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.
(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.
(North Carolina State University) Freshly burned longleaf pine forests have more than double the total number of bees and bee species than similar forests that have not burned in over 50 years, according to new research. The study found that the low-intensity prescribed burns did not reduce the amount of nesting material for above-ground nesting pollinators, and the abundance of above-ground nesting pollinators was not impacted by the fires. Meanwhile, below-ground nesting species appeared to benefit from the increased access to bare soil.
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.
(ABC) The Ligurian honey bees on Kangaroo Island are believed to be the last remaining pure stock of this insect found anywhere in the world. It’s possible that up to 500 hives could have succumbed to the flames. “That part of the island that was burnt was the main drawcard for keepers to put their hives.”