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 main conference organisers are the co-operative research centre (CRC) for Honey Bee Products based at the University of Western Australia.
Local manuka honey buyers will get extra assurance with the release of two new quality seals for authentic Australian manuka honey.
The seals are only available to manuka honey producers whose honey meets the standard laid down by the Australian Manuka Honey Association.
John Rawcliffe, general manager of New Zealand’s UMF honey industry association, told online news site Stuff.co.nz recently that Australian honey producers are “taking part of the [Maori] creation story and bastardizing it.”
His remarkable claim appears to have little support, but is part of an ongoing campaign intended to block Australian manuka honey producers from access to international markets.