The Australian stingless bee industry: a follow-up survey, one decade on

publication date: Apr 1, 2013
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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 52 (2) pp.1-7
DOI
10.3896/IBRA.1.52.2.01
Date
April 2013
Article Title

The Australian stingless bee industry: a follow-up survey, one decade on

Author(s)

Megan T Halcroft, Robert Spooner-Hart, Anthony M Haigh, Tim A Heard and Anne Dollin

Abstract

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.

Keywords

 Meliponiculture, pollination, sugarbag, colony, propagation, Tetragonula, Austroplebeia

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