Australian Beekeepers Struggle as La Niña Caused Dismal Season
Climate change is taking a toll on southern Australia. Normally La Niña doesn’t impact the bee business, but this year's cool, dry weather means less nectar and pollen for bees.
The summer honey season started well but has turned into another disappointment for apiarists around the country that has been plagued by extreme natural and weather disasters in recent years.
Some beekeepers, like Ben Hooper from Tintinara, have had to resort to supplemental feeding since his bees produced 40% less honey than average.
Many beekeepers across Australia are having the same challenges with more frequent and extreme weather all over Australia. The industry is still in survival mode following the bushires, just trying to keep the bees alive.
Most of Australia had a less-than-average season with the exception of Tasmania.
This 2:47-minute video by 9 News Australia shows the devastation of floods and bushfires Australia has been through in recent times, and it is easy to imagine how these disasters have impacted bees and beekeepers:
According to University of Adelaide researcher Katja Hogendoorn, the dry periods are having a major impact on the availability of nectar and pollen for honeybees.
Spring heatwaves and sweltering summers cause flowers to wither quickly, so eucalypts flowers then produce scant nectar. Since nectar is made by flower glands and requires water, little nectar can be produced in a water shortage.
Heatwaves are becoming longer and more intense, as scientists have warned about for a long time. Dr. Hogendoorn is researching how farmers can revegetate their land to make it attractive to native and farmed bees while at the same time improving their pollination rates.
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