​​Media Release

A hive of activity as Australia's commercial bee keepers are surveyed

​16 June 2015

An upcoming survey of the Australian honey bee industry will collect baseline data that will provide information on the current economic situation of Australian beekeepers.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) survey would provide a thorough picture of changes to the national industry along with an up-to-date profile of the physical and financial characteristics of honey bee businesses.

“In addition to data on the demographic and socioeconomic circumstances of people in the industry, the survey will capture the adoption of research and development initiatives, the state of honey bee health and the size of the commercial pollination services sector,” Minister Joyce said.

Minister Joyce said the value of Australia’s bee industry extended far beyond the quality products produced to the valuable pollination services of honey bees.

“More than 12,000 registered beekeepers are tending to more than 520,000 hives across the country that produce about $90 million worth of honey and beeswax each year,” Minister Joyce said.  

“Bees are important not just because of the honey they produce. About 65 per cent of Australian agricultural crops respond to honey bee pollination. Among others, Australia’s $346 million almond crop depends entirely on bees for pollination.

“It’s not just beekeepers and the honey industry that rely on bees, it’s Australia’s agriculture industry as a whole.”

The ABARES survey will allow for comparison with survey data collected from previous surveys in 2001 and 2008.

ABARES will consult with the Federal Department of Agriculture, State and Territory Government agriculture departments, RIRDC, Plant Health Australia and industry representative organisations, such as the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council in designing the industry survey.

A sample of commercial bee keepers, registered on state and territory lists, will be selected to participate in the survey with ABARES to conduct face-to-face interviews starting in late February 2016. The survey results are expected to be available in July 2016.