The honey market downturn has impacted the profitability of many beekeeping businesses, particularly those producing the non-manuka honeys, says Karin Kos, chief executive of Apiculture New Zealand.
More than 60 beekeepers have participated in Biosecurity New Zealand’s Bee Pathogen Programme and had their hives tested every six months for two and half years.
Biosecurity New Zealand senior scientist, Dr Richard Hall, says the research will provide a wealth of valuable information to the beekeeping industry.
“The Bee Pathogen Programme will help us better understand the effect that diseases, climate and apiary management practices have on colony losses and productivity,” he says.
“We have completed sampling and our experts have begun carefully evaluating the huge amount of data that has been collected.
“This includes studying more than 130,000 honey bees from 300 samples taken throughout the country that are now archived in Biosecurity New Zealand’s freezers.
“Once the data has been carefully evaluated it will be available to the beekeeping industry and to researchers for further analysis.”
Biosecurity New Zealand is aiming to release its conclusions from the Bee Pathogen Programme in late 2019.