Talking about burns and bees
11 July, 2012
A successful field day last week in Bruthen helped local apiarists and DSE planned burning staff better understand each others’ work.
In addition to honey production, honey bees are used to provide pollination services for agriculture and food production. Between commercial pollination jobs, apiarists lease sites on public land to build and maintain the health of their bee colonies.
DSE’s Acting Land and Fire Regional Manager Evan Lewis said it was important for planned burning staff to fully understand how stakeholders like apiarists use public land so they can be included at the right times in the planning process for burns.
“The tripling of burning targets means we will be doing a lot more burning than in the past, which is important to protect life and property and reduce the risk of large, intense fires across the landscape,” Mr Lewis said.
“We are really keen to work closely with our apiarists and others who have ongoing interests in public land so that we can work towards the best outcomes for everyone as we plan for these increased burning targets,” he said.
Ian Cane, member of the Victorian Apiarists Association Resources Committee, said although apiarists’ role in our forests may not appear obvious because they leave no footprint, they have an intrinsic link to public land as one of its major users.
“Apart from the obvious risk of loss of bee colonies when planned burns are conducted in areas we have hives, burns can also impact on the quantity and quality of the flora in the forest, which in turn affects the health of the bees,” he said.
“One third of the food we eat is totally dependent on honey bees and 65 per cent of agriculture is dependent one way or another on honey bees, and having access to flora in forests and parks is an important stage in the cycle of beekeeping,” Mr Cane said.
“Healthy forests and healthy bees mean food security and healthy people, so its important apiarists play a role in future planning for burns on public land,” he said.
The outcomes of the field day are now being used to improve communications and incorporation of apiarists’ needs in the planned burn process.