More than 10,000 beehives are estimated to have been lost to the Australian bushfires so far this summer, and the number is likely to rise.
Sarah Paradice, chief executive of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, said last week that the latest count is some 10,200 hives.
And with so many bushfires and so much infrastructure destroyed there are very real fears that the number may go much higher.
The impact of the bushfires on the Australian honey industry is also much greater than just the loss of hives. In many areas the surviving bees have no food – there are simply no flowers from which they can collect nectar and pollen.
Coming on top of year of what, for many beekeepers has been years of drought, the impact of the bushfires is nothing short of disastrous.
In response there have been a number of initiatives to raise money for beekeepers who have lost hives and livelihoods, and also initiatives to help the industry recover.
The Wheen Bee Foundation, for example, has recently launched a ‘Strategic Bee Rebuild & Recovery Fund’.
According to the Foundation, the fund is to “support research programs and projects that will allow our bees and beekeepers to be sustained over the next 10 years as they recover from this current bushfire crisis and the longer term impacts it will create”.
The Foundation is supported by leading Australian honey producer – Beechworth honey, and donations are tax deductible.
A number of other organisations and individuals have also set up fund raising initiatives to help beekeepers.
Probably the most significant of those for beekeepers is HiveAid. Supported by Capilano and endorsed by the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, the fundraising is being managed by the Brisbane based RuralAid charity.
Capilano announced the establishment of Hive Aid on the 1st of December last year and, with a $100,000 donation from almond grower – Olam – more than $124,000 had been raised as at the time of writing (26th Jan 2020).
Capilano has also released a specially marked 340gms packs which promises 20c form each pack sold will be directed towards bushfire and drought relief for beekeepers
To donate to Hiveaid go to
At least $60,000 -$70,000 in total promised for beekeepers has also been raised by various individuals at the Gofundme platform.
Links to the pages of some are listed below:
1, Help Beekeepers affected by fire,
Organised by Ana from Amberdrop Honey and 2 others, more than $30000 has been collected and distributed to date to beekeepers including Lindsay Parnell from Parnells Honey in Tomerong NSW who lost 40 beehives and a total of 160 bee colonies to the fires, Peter Vickers from Sticky Wings Honey who lost 40 hives near Taree in NSW; Peter Matthison from Mid Coast Honey at Elands, NSW who lost 230 hives and Roy from Stickyprickbeehaven in Yanchep WA who lost 120 hives. Others receiving funds have included Dan Woods from Ulldaulla who lost all his 16 hives in the fires, Phil Tebble from Kilcoy Honey who lost 30 hives and Matthew Gledhill from Mountain Bee Honey who lost 90 hives.
2, Save the Kangaroo Island Ligurian Bee
Organiser - Kylie Hargraves
Island Beehive lost 400 hives to the Kangaroo Island bushfire
3, Help Save our Bees
Organiser - Richard Sutton
4th generation beekeepers - Richard Sutton and his parents - jodie and David, have lost 600-800 hives over last 12 months to three different bushfires at Inverell, Port Macquarie, and Eden
4, Save ‘Sticky Prick Bee Haven’ business $6960
Organiser Leanne Murphy
Roy lost 80 beehives at Yanchep in WA
5, Replace Bee Colonies Devastated by Bushfires
Organised by Pam Noonan, Corryong Vic
On behalf of neighbour, Matt Gledhill - Mountain Bee honey
6, Bushfire Destruction - No Bush = NO BEES
Organised by Australian Organic Honey Company Pty Ltd
7, Helping Beekeepers affected by Aussie Bushfires
Organised by Richard deCauX whose father is "The Bush Bee Man", Ridleyton, SA