Plan Bee, the National Honey Bee Genetic Improvement Program, surveyed queen production for the 2020-2021 season to report on the state of queen production nationally. This report summarises the findings of the survey.
The report is the first of its kind to describe values for queen and package bee sales from all major Australian beekeeping states. Surveys were completed online using REDCap (Vanderbilt University) and promoted through Plan Bee communications, the extensionAUS Professional Beekeepers website and social media, Facebook advertising, presentations to beekeeping groups, industry newsletters, and emails to industry associations. Additionally, 19 surveys were printed and posted with return envelopes to queen breeders identified as not accessing technology, with a return rate of 50 per cent.
An official register of Australian queen breeders and producers could assist domestic market participants with locating production or breeder queens to purchase and sustain their business enterprises, while also connecting queen breeders and producers to potential new markets.
Clear delineation of queen breeders and producers will assist in the development of a market for queen breeders’ elite selected stock. Queen breeding requires additional work that must be renumerated, which is difficult when the market doesn’t understand the difference.
The low volume of queen exports as well as domestic sales proportionate to registered beekeepers does not justify raising the queen bee levy, which is currently set at zero.