Beekeeper guarding WA
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.