Quarter Of Kangaroo Island's Beehives Could Have Been Wiped Out By Fierce Bushfire
There are fears the devastating bushfire that swept through Kangaroo Island at the weekend might have disrupted the beehive population.
According to the ABC, the island is home to the purest strain of Italian honey bees in the world, also called Ligurian honey bees.
Full damage assessments are yet to be undertaken, but Apiary Alliance SA chairman Danny LeFeuvre said as much as a quarter of Kangaroo Island's beehives could have been wiped out.
"It's not a large proportion of the industry, but it's certainly a vital and very important part of our industry," Mr LeFeuvre said.
"There's always something flowering and bees did really well."
Sadly, he added that many of the bees would have been bunkering down inside the beehives when the fire took hold to escape the high temperatures.
There are around 60,000 beehives in South Australia, but the bees on Kangaroo Island are regarded as special because they are free of disease as a result of little human interference.
They have a diet consisting mostly of flowers native to the island and therefore produce a beautiful honey that attracts a lot of buyers. There will likely be a downturn in the amount of produce coming off the island as a result but thankfully prices aren't predicted to go up.
People are now being encouraged to buy some Kangaroo Island honey in order to keep the operation turning over.
"Hopefully that can be passed or driven back to the farm gate and drive some profitability for the beekeepers on Kangaroo Island," Mr LeFeuvre said.
It's not as if beehive producers can just bring a load of other bees onto the island to help boost production. There are strict rules around what can and can't be imported in order to protect the Italian honey bees from outside influence.
Kangaroo Island sits just off the coast of Adelaide and is home to around 4,500 people.
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Featured Image Credit: Ken Thomas/Creative Commons