The Australian stingless bee industry: a follow-up survey, one decade on
Megan T Halcroft, Robert Spooner-Hart, Anthony M Haigh, Tim A Heard and Anne Dollin
In 2010, an online survey was conducted to assess the current status of the Australian stingless bee industry and its recent development. This was a follow-up survey conducted approximately one decade after the first study, by Heard and Dollin in 1998/99. It showed that the Australian industry had grown over the past ten or so years but is still underdeveloped. There was a 2.5-fold increase in the number of bee keepers and a 3.5 fold increase in the number of domesticated colonies. Seventy-eight percent of bee keepers were hobbyists, 54% of whom owned only one colony. Most colonies were kept in suburban areas. Two species, Tetragonula carbonaria and Austroplebeia australis, dominated the relatively short list of species kept. There was a high demand for Australian stingless bee colonies and their honey, but with less than 250 bee keepers currently propagating colonies, and many of them on a small scale, it is difficult to meet this demand. Pollination services were provided by less than 4% of the major stakeholders within the industry. Further research and development in the area of colony propagation may see this industry grow more quickly.