The bee was first discovered in Cairns, Queensland, in May 2007. They do not appear to be more hostile than any other species although they will sting if challenged. Experts have cautioned that the Asian honey bee is capable of destroying Australia’s bee industry. The government, particularly in South-east Queensland, have developed an eradication program to help address the problem.
Controlling Asian Honey Bees
The program was developed to identify the pest and eradicate it. It’s also a movement of limiting controlled bee and beekeeping equipment. An information system was also put in place to announce all reported nest to be destroyed. This program was aimed to develop tools and resources which will help the community and pest control industries manage this pest. The National Management Group under Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement was formed to deal with the attack.
In January 2011, as a result of re-evaluating the program, the National Management Group agreed that destruction was no longer strictly achievable. Additionally, an action was pledged on the national scale to reduce the likely impact of these pest bees. This includes key elements based on factors which would be of great help. The program allows recognition of unfavourable intervention points. It also decided to reduce long distance transportation, which plays a part in spreading Asian honey bee via transport means and other dangerous pathways.
The Master Plan
Another crucial area was to optimise a master plan to produce early discovery of new attacks of the pest. Also expanding and embracing strategies and tools to prevent the Asian honey bee from growing in population. The program also introduced a public awareness campaign to educate citizens about the pest, and to be on the lookout for any suspicious bees and report any cases where they are identified.
As an outcome, from July 2011 to June 2013 the Australia government invested $2 million in an Asian Honey Bee Management Program dealing with the pest, which was managed by Plant Health Australia. The program was boosted by donations from partners, with funding contributed by the Australia Honey Bee Biosecurity, Queensland and the Federal Council of Australia Apiarists Association.
The agenda was brought via a range of projects, particular action plans which will be coordinated by Biosecurity Queensland. The planned activities will engage communities, individuals, local government, tools and environmental agencies. It will also require strategies and actions to cope with the on-going presence of the AHB with the view of mitigating the social, economic and environmental impact of the pests.
In south-east Queensland, Asian honey bee still poses a challenge to the agricultural sector. In 2017, the areas that have been confirmed to be affected by the pest in Queensland includes Malanda and south to Millaa Millaa, Mena Creek, South Johnstone, Cairns and spreads to north Mossman, west towards Mutchilba among many others. Numerous programs have been started to help control the pest. Most of the initiatives involve the community and farmers who are greatly affected by the pest. The objective of this initiative is to suppress the pest population and eventually eradicate it.