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20 May 2020 06:36

Lana Del Rey Moby World Bee Day

Camilla becomes president of beekeeping development charity on World Bee Day

The Queensland Beekeepers' Association has used World Bee Day to call for a financial lifeline, warning crops will fail if starving bees don't make it through winter. Key points: The Queensland Beekeepers' Association warns food production is at stake if bees can't be kept alive through winter to pollinate crops The Queensland Beekeepers' Association warns food production is at stake if bees can't be kept alive through winter to pollinate crops Drought and bushfires have caused unprecedented food shortages for bees and Queensland's honey production is expected to be down 90 per cent in 2020 Drought and bushfires have caused unprecedented food shortages for bees and Queensland's honey production is expected to be down 90 per cent in 2020 The industry has called for more government help on top of a $1 million drought rescue package in February An unprecedented combination of drought and bushfires has left little food in the wild and many commercial beekeepers have been forced to hand feed their insects to keep them alive. His goal is not to produce honey, but to keep up the strength of his hives for August, when they would be trucked 980 kilometres south to Victoria for the lucrative job of pollinating almond trees. While feeding his bees through winter had been part of his regular management plan, Mr Carruthers believed he would need an extra 11 tonnes of sugar, on top of the 24 tonnes he usually fed them, because drought and bushfires had robbed the landscape of nectar and pollen sources. Rex Carruthers is feeding is bees, not to produce honey but to keep them alive for their trip to Victoria in August to pollinate almond trees.

Queensland Beekeepers Association president, Jo Martin, said conditions were unprecedented and commercial beekeepers who rarely supplemented their bees' diets had resorted to hand feeding. "Beekeeping in Queensland has been a way of life for over 134 years and there's a lot of generational beekeeping families who have kept incredibly accurate records of honey production, weather patterns and seasonal honey production forecasts," Ms Martin said. Australian Honeybee Industry Council chair Peter McDonald says Queensland's honey production is estimated to be down 90 per cent in 2020. Australian Honeybee Industry Council chair Peter McDonald said conditions varied across Australia, with Queensland worst off, followed by New South Wales. "It has been estimated that Queensland's honey crop will be down by about 90 per cent and New South Wales might be down by between 60 and 80 per cent," Mr McDonald said.

Ms Martin said that supply had already been used up and the 46 per cent of beekeepers who were too proud to put their hands up for help had missed out. Of the 79,000 commercial hives in Queensland — 45,000 of them were used for crop pollination — with seedless watermelon, strawberries, almonds and macadamias across Australia all dependent on bees. Ms Martin said while at last estimate the state's honey production was valued at $64 million at the farm gate, $2.4 billion worth of Queensland crops relied on bees for pollination. "Without some really important lifeblood income support back to our hardworking beekeeping operations the future of pollination services in Queensland could be in jeopardy." Queensland Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said the Government's support for the industry was unprecedented and he would continue to work with beekeepers as they combat drought. A Department of Environment and Science spokesperson said the Queensland Government "knows the importance of national parks to the commercial beekeeping industry and was investigating the potential continuation of beekeepers' access to existing sites on national park land after 2024".

The duchess said: "Today, on World Bee Day, it is a huge pleasure to speak to you as the first president of Bees for Development. "As we all know, bees are vital to the natural world and an essential part of our fragile ecology." READ MORE: Kate Middleton pays tribute to Princess Diana in unusual way during video message She described via video message how bees were "vital to the natural world", but can also be used to help provide a much-needed income for people living in some of the poorest countries. "Every year the honey from my hives is harvested and sold for charity, and I am delighted that this year's honey crop will help Bees for Development continue their very important work. The Duchess of Cornwall has celebrated World Bee Day by becoming president of the charity Bees for Development which promotes beekeeping as a way to combat poverty. Camilla, who is a keen beekeeper and has a series of hives in her garden in Wiltshire, said funds raised from the sale of her honey crop this year would go to the organisation.

In a video message, she described how bees were "vital to the natural world", but could also be used to help provide a much-needed income for people living in some of the poorest countries. The duchess, wishing people a "very Happy World Bee Day", said: "Today, on World Bee Day, it is a huge pleasure to speak to you as the first president of Bees for Development. The Duchess of Cornwall trying some Indian honey at the Bees for Development Garden Party in 2019 (Matt Dunham/PA) "This in turn provides a much-needed income to people living in some of the poorest and most isolated communities in the world. "Every year the honey from my hives is harvested and sold for charity, and I am delighted that this year's honey crop will help Bees for Development continue their very important work. The average person is aware that vegans don't consume any product with animal meat, dairy or eggs, though when it comes to the sweet, viscous byproduct of bees – aka honey – many are left puzzled. When honey bees fly back to the hive, they begin to secrete enzymes that help to change the acidity and composition of the nectar to make it suitable to keep a long time. It has been well documented that raising bees for honey, especially for commercial purposes, uses techniques that are considered exploitative in different ways. Commercial honey producers usually artificially inseminate the queen bee, and forcibly remove her wings to prevent her from leaving the hive and colonising another one. Some commercial beekeepers kill the entire hive after the end of every pollinating season so they can cut costs by not needing to look after an existing colony, and simply start again with a new bee colony when the season begins again. Even when beekeepers do not intentionally hurt the hive, many bees are accidentally injured, crushed or killed in the process of honey harvesting. Aside from the detrimental impact that industrial honey farms have on the lives of bees themselves, the process is one that damages the environment and its natural ecosystem. Commercially produced honey products travel long distances across the world to be imported from one country to another. Luckily, we have many vegan-friendly honey substitutes that are made without the involvement of bees or any other animals. Bees are valuable to humans – they support our global food chain because they help pollinate up to 70% of wild flowers and food crops. Camilla has been named the first-ever President of Bees for Development (which we should refer to as "President of Bees" for short), and is using the holiday to send an important message about the importance of both bees themselves and Bees for Development—a charity that provides free beekeeping information and support to individuals in more than 130 countries. Today, on World Bee Day, it is a huge pleasure to speak to you as the first President of Bees for Development. This in turn provides a much-needed income to people living in some of the poorest and most isolated communities in the world. And it means that there are healthy hives of bees working to pollinate crops. Every year the honey from my hives is harvested and sold for charity, and I am delighted that this year's honey crop will help Bees for Development continue their very important work.