New Zealand in the Midst of Giant Honeybee Study

The Biosecurity team of New Zealand has just completed the largest study of honeybees they have ever attempted. More than 60 beekeepers had their hives tested two times a year for almost three years. 

The senior scientist of the Biosecurity team, Dr. Richard Hall, was head of the Bee Pathogen Program. Honeybees in New Zealand are not just suppliers of honey for the country. Honeybees play a part in tree and crop farming, dairy farming, animal meat production, and some forestry in addition to honey production. Without the bees New Zealand's primary industries would suffer. The same goes for the rest of the world without honeybees.

image by Andy Duback

The program focused on finding out  how common pests and pathogens are and how severely the hives are being affected by these. The program also is trying to locate where throughout the country of New Zealand the biggest threats are located as well as how the pests and pathogens are affecting the apiary industries. The research provided by this study will provide tremendously valuable information to the beekeeping industry both in New Zealand and to the world. 

When asked about the honeybee program study, Dr. Hall responded, "the Bee Pathogen Program will help us better understand the effect that diseases, climate and apiary management practices have on colony losses and productivity. We have completed sampling and our experts have begun carefully evaluating the huge amount of data that has been collected.

"This includes studying more than 130,000 honeybees from 300 samples taken throughout the country that are now archived in Biosecurity New Zealand's freezers. Once the data has been carefully evaluated it will be available to the beekeeping industry and to researchers for further analysis."

We are so excited to learn about the outcome of the study. The Biosecurity team is expected to release the results of the study in late 2019.