All Hail the Bee!
Today is World Bee Day. All hail the bee!
Not only do these little heroines provide us with delicious honey including Bidjaronning Honey, Ngooka Honey, Manuka Life Honey and South West Honey, they help to pollinate most of the crops we eat and many that feed farm animals.
Bees also play a vital role in preserving ecosystem health. Maintaining plant diversity supports other essential ecosystem services including helping to regulate climate, purifying air and water, building soil and recycling nutrients.
But bee populations are under threat. The use of pesticides, loss of diversity of flowering species, and pests and diseases are just some of the complex reasons driving a decline in both the number and diversity of bees.
Luckily in the South West of Western Australia we are in one of the most biodiverse and isolated parts of the world, which has kept our bee populations free from the main pests and diseases that affect honey bees. With our strict quarantine measures, and the dedication of Western Australian beekeepers, we hope it will stay this way
Many of our farmers are growing diverse multi species cover crop and pasture mixes, which provide the native and european honeybees with both habitat and food. These species are often left to flower before being grazed, such as the multi species mix pictured above at Steve Ford’s farm. This mix contains field peas, vetch, lupins and faba beans which are all sources of food for the bees, along with cereal rye and oats. Another of Steve’s pasture crops is a mix of serradella and tillage radish, which is also loved by the ir bees and many other beneficial insects.