Fri. Aug 12th, 2022

Delays in the gate cause a massive headache for queen beekeepers and keepers, who say crucial stock is about to die or disappear.

There have been reports that some packages of the precious cargo take up to 10 days to reach their destination.

Australian Queen Bee Breeders Association (AQBBA) president Richard Sims said it was despite the animals being sent express.

“They arrive dead, they arrive stressed or just don’t arrive at all,” he said.

“This is a flow effect down to the beekeeper who may have his hives already set up and waiting for these queen bees, or he is waiting to get his queen bees to be kept at an optimal level for honey production, or to the ever-growing pollination industry. now. ”

Sims said the breeders did not know what happened when packages left their hands.

“We do not know if they are back in mail sorting areas or if they are stuck in vans – depends on whether the tracking numbers work,” he said.

“I recently heard of a party that lasted seven days, but they turned out very badly.

Queen bees in a package ready to be mailed.
A package of queens ready to be delivered to Tasmania.(Delivered: Murwillumbah Queen Bees)

Christmas is threatening

Sims said it took 10 days to deliver a package of virgin queen bees made from queens and drone semen recently imported from the Netherlands from Victoria to Brisbane.

“It was a very important package that you can imagine,” he said.

“They showed up live, but they were in very poor condition, so whether they are going to be anything good for fertilization remains to be seen.”

AQBBA now recommends that breeders insure their queens, but Sims said some now refused to send them.

“Some have just had enough of it, it’s just too much risk,” he said.

“We had to send a plot to Victoria on Monday.

Sims, who breeds queens in Murwillumbah, is in doubt as to what the solution might be.

“Couriers can take up to five days to get them there, which may be acceptable,” he said.

“We are also investigating how we use trucking companies.

An empty queen cage with hundreds of queen bees.
An empty delivery cage sits on a frame along with hundreds of queen bees.(Delivered: Murwillumbah Queen Bees)

Data loggers trial period

AQBBA is launching an experiment with data loggers in delivery packages to monitor the conditions of bees.

“There have been some studies that have shown that temperatures above 40 degrees can affect the viability of the sperm stored in the queen bee, which can affect the queen’s longevity or her ability to keep laying eggs,” he said. he.

“So the association buys some data loggers and we send them with packages of queen bees so we can test the temperatures they are exposed to during the journey and also the humidity.

“We are not sure what this will show, but it will hopefully rule out some of the problems that have been found with queen bees that do not last as long as they can in hives.”

An elderly, bespectacled man in a light shirt looks at a letterbox-like beehive.
Australian Native Bee Association chairman Tim Heard says many guardians have lost faith in the postal system.(Delivered by: Tim Heard)

Native hive delays

The Australian Native Bee Association has experienced similar delays.

President Tim Heard said members were still able to get urticaria to regional sites and to crops that need pollination, but they saw delays of more than a week to get urticaria delivered to Sydney, where industry is seeing growth. the pet market.

“While we could send hives on Monday and they would arrive, typically Wednesday, in the middle of the week, we now see situations where they do not even get there at the end of the week,” he said.

“Most beekeepers pack their hives so that bees can breathe, but there is still a limit to how long these bees can survive being kept indoors.”

Bees sent to hives exposed to delays of more than a week can run out of food and risk suffocation.

Sir. Heard said the risk became too great for most beekeepers.

“It costs animals for beekeepers and it causes a lot of inconvenience to those in Sydney who want to buy these hives,” he said.

“Considering that it is likely that there will be an opening of [Sydney], hopefully it will result in faster mail and freight services.

“Priority for perishable goods would be a clear improvement.

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Australia Post apologizes

In a statement to ABC, a spokesman for the Australia Post said the service experienced Christmas-like amounts on top of border closures, reduced flights and lockdowns.

“Our teams are working hard to process and deliver packages as quickly and safely as possible,” the spokesman said.

“Every reasonable effort is made to prioritize packages containing live insects that have been packaged and shipped in accordance with our guidelines on dangerous and prohibited goods and packaging.

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