Australia and the European honey bee

What is a European Honey Bee?

The European Honey bee (Apis Mellifera) was introduced into Australia in 1822. Today there are approximately 650,000 hives throughout the country and bees are responsible for pollination of approximately 60 percent of our crops. Unfortunately, in recent years, the honey bee has been exposed to a number of threats.

What are the threats to our honey bees?

The major culprits are insecticides, pesticides and herbicides. The imminent threat of pests like the ‘varroa’ mite, also pose a serious concern to commercial and hobby beekeepers. There are also other pests and diseases which must be managed. The entire beekeeping community needs to apply sound beekeeping management practices if we are to secure the future of these special creatures. Our bees also need the help of everyone in the community.

How can we help our bees?

Canberra is well known as the garden city with eucalyptus species providing the major source of nectar for our bees. However, we can help the bees by ensuring that our gardens have bee friendly plants flowing throughout the year, in particular, late summer and autumn. Also we can protect the bees by reducing and hopefully eliminating the use of insecticides in our garden. Insecticides are very toxic to bees. Bees need our help and in turn this creature will reward us beyond measure.

Is there a list of Bee friendly plants available?

Yes. A list of bee friendly plants, natives, shrubs, herbs etc can be found on the Beekeepers Association of the ACT web site:

How can I become involved in backyard beekeeping?

More and more people are showing an interest in bees, either to take up this fascinating hobby, or simply to understand the nature of this wonderful creature and to attract such a friend to our gardens to pollinate our fruit trees and vegetables. The Beekeepers Association of the ACT is an organization that can help would be beekeepers.

How do I contact the Beekeeping Association?

Contact details can be found on the Association’s website:

Aims of the association are:

To promote good beekeeping practices

– To promote the interest of beekeepers

– To share and spread knowledge of beekeeping within the community as well as among our members.


At the Garran Primary School Hall, Gilmore Crescent, Garran ACT on the 2nd Thursday or each month.

Membership fee is $35 per year for a family


Honey is a valuable food, a sweetener with a lower GI than cane sugar, and a tasty treat. The amino acids and minerals present in honey add to the food value.

Medicinal Value

Honey is a slightly acidic food which has a natural antibiotic effect. It is often taken orally as a treatment for sore throats, coughs and colds.

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