From Kim Flottum:
CATCH THE BUZZ
Australian Bees Supposedly Banned From U.S.
The Almond Board today sent the message below to their handlers. We do not yet have confirmation from USDA APHIS and are awaiting official word. But if honey bee importation from Australia is halted, as we have felt it should be from the beginning, the push for bees from somewhere else will intensify. Mention has been made of bees from Mexico or from Canada. The negotiations and dealing to make either of those work will be interesting to watch.
If African bees from Mexico are allowed to come to the U.S., will they cause problems in orchards? Will they come as colonies and return, or as packages and simply stay here like the bees from OZ?
Would Canada allow U. S. bees to venture north, as honey producers, pollinators or simply as queens in return for the chance at California’s Gold? Would they bring colonies down early in the season…like next month…to overwinter in preparation for spring?
But would any of them actually want to come to Almond country and take the CCD gamble?
But the biggest question of all...Will there be enough U.S. bees next spring to meet the needs of the Almond Industry?
These scenarios bring out the good, the bad and the ugly side of all of this. Please stay tuned, the outcome will affect your beekeeping and honey packing business this season.
From The Almond Board to their Handlers:
We received a heads up that USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will be halting the importation of all honey bees from Australia. The ban will take effect the date the Federal Register Notice appears, which should be in the next 2 weeks.
APHIS reconsidered the potential risk that imported Australian honey bees may pose of introducing new pests and diseases to honey bees in the U.S. Based on the continuing spread of a non-native bee (Apis cerana) in Australia and the uncertainties about what new viral diseases it may be spreading among bee populations in Australia, APHIS believes honey bee imports from Australia pose an unacceptable risk of introducing new diseases in the United States.