Postage delays – what it means for queen breeders and beekeepers

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Australia is current experiencing delays on postage services, with mail and parcels being delayed by weeks at a time. This is causing significant issues for queen breeders and beekeepers, with queens sometimes being delivered dead or in poor condition.

Postage delays are of particular concern because queens that spend too long at the wrong temperature can result in >50% of the semen stored in the queen’s spermatheca dying. As a result, the queen may have a reduced lifespan or her colony can have difficulty thriving.

As a result of this crisis some breeders are not operating this year. With less breeders operating it will make it more difficult for beekeepers to requeen their colonies particularly off the back of a difficult few seasons.

Many breeders are still operating, though some are only supplying to customers who can pickup to avoid posting queens. It’s worth noting that locally raised queens are typically advantageous to a hive due to adaptation to local conditions, pests and diseases, so beekeepers should consider sourcing queens from local breeders, if possible.

Of course, this might be easiest for beekeepers in Queensland and northern NSW, given the majority of queen production occurs in those regions.

For breeders and beekeepers that do need to use postage, best practice is to transport queen honey bees by post is only to post Express Post ideally on the Monday morning or Monday afternoon run in approved packaging, labelling and health certificates attached as required.

More information on this post can be found in the Australian Post dangerous and prohibited goods and packaging guide.

Rest assured, the Australian Queen Bee Breeders Association is working closely with Australia Post and other logistics providers to work through solutions to the issue.

Our queen bee breeders are critical to the success and sustainability of the sector. Where possible please continue to support these vital members of the broader industry.

Plan Bee (National Honey Bee Genetic Improvement Program) is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of

 Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of its Rural Research and Development for Profit program. The project is further supported by AgriFutures Australia, the Department of Regional NSW, University of Sydney, University of New England Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit, Better Bees WA Inc, Wheen Bee Foundation, Costa Group, Olam, Beechworth Honey, Monson’s Honey and Pollination, South Pacific Seeds, Australian Queen Bee Breeders Association, Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, and commercial beekeepers.

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