The Future of Bees
Given that the general decline of pollinating insects is occurring on a global scale, beekeepers and researchers actively work to safeguard honeybees and their pollination services. Unfortunately, the existing tools and knowledge are insufficient to avoid further major losses. More research and development is urgently required to fully understand the bees and their problems.
Currently, Australia has been spared the dramatic major losses seen in other parts of the world. This is a result of its geographic isolation and strict quarantine regulations, which kept the varroa mite—a major threat to bees—out of the country. Additionally, Australia’s pristine landscapes provide honey bees with a healthy environment, minimizing potentially harmful exposures of honeybees to potentially harmful pesticides. However, it is generally accepted that the varroa mite and other diseases will eventually also make landfall in Australia and will cause massive bee deaths.
A healthy future for bees requires collaboration between beekeepers and researchers, so that gaps in knowledge can be identified, investigated and the findings used to keep and breed the future honeybees. To initiate this path, scientists work alongside commercial beekeepers of the Better Bees of WA breeding program at the Centre for Integrative Bee Research on various bee related research such as male fertility and honeybee immunity.