Bee­keeper guard­ing WA

Southern Gazette (Victoria Park) - - Opinion -

BEE­KEEPER Eric Mel­lor, who has hives in Kewdale, has vol­un­teered for a Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment pro­gram to guard WA’s honey bees from pest and dis­ease threats.

The joint sur­veil­lance ef­fort forms part of an ex­panded na­tional bee pest sur­veil­lance pro­gram that pro­vides an early warn­ing sys­tem to de­tect new bee pests and dis­eases.

The depart­ment is co-or­di­nat­ing sur­veil­lance across WA, with spe­cial ‘sen­tinel’ hives placed at key ship­ping ports and other strate­gic lo­ca­tions where im­ports pose a risk of bring­ing in ex­otic bees or pests.

Mr Mel­lor said he be­came in­ter­ested in bee­keep­ing in his teens and had a hive at his fam­ily home in South Perth in the early 1960s.

“I be­came more in­tensely in­volved about nine years ago when I joined the WA Api­arists’ So­ci­ety and in 2012 I heard a biose­cu­rity pre­sen­ta­tion,” Mr Mel­lor said.

“As I had been trav­el­ling Europe and was aware of the prob­lems they were hav­ing with pests and the var­roa mite, I vol­un­teered my hive site in Kewdale to be part of this pro­gram to en­sure the pro­tec­tion of our bee in­dus­try here in WA.”

Depart­ment project of­fi­cer An­drea John­ston said ac­tiv­ity had in­creased un­der a five-year pro­gram to in­clude more re­gional ship­ping ports and more tar­geted sur­veil­lance.

Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment of­fi­cers An­drea John­ston and Si­mon Eyres with bee­keeper Eric Mel­lor.

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