Crushed beehives for crucial almond pollination

Beekeepers are working hard to make the almond pollination season in Northwest Victoria a booming success this year.

Over 277,000 beehives are transported to the region from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

It is the largest movement of cattle in Australia.

But Tumut beekeeper John Casey needed help from above to save 1,200 beehives stranded north of Condobolin because the road was too wet to access them.

In a rare move, the beehives were moved by helicopter at a cost of $ 1,600 an hour, before being loaded onto trucks and transported to Boundary Bend.

A team of people and a helicopter were used to move John Casey’s 1,200 beehives across dry ground.(

ABC Rural: Hugh Hogan


“I’ve never seen him do it,” he said.

“It would be cheaper than making a differential or a gearbox on a truck. I think so.

A man wearing a bee costume stands in front of some of his beehives
Tumut beekeeper John Casey needed a helicopter to rescue 1,200 beehives stuck on wet ground in Trundle.(

ABC Rural: Hugh Hogan


“We’re going to continue to have rain. It’s supposed to rain more next month, but we have to get them out for almond pollination,” he said.

The bees get to work

Merbein’s almond grower Neale Bennett said the beehives would be based on his property for six weeks before being loaded onto trucks for the return trip.

“We need bees. Almonds are not wind pollinated like some other crops. We need bees to carry this pollen from flower to flower,” he said.

A man in a jacket stands in front of blossoming almond trees
Merbein’s almond grower, Neale Bennett, will have bees in his orchard for about six weeks.(

ABC Mildura-Swan Hill: Jennifer Douglas


“It looks really good. It’s a good time of year as it is the start of our season. We are hoping for reasonable sunny weather and with that uniform flowering.”

Finding enough hives is a challenge, but navigating COVID-19 restrictions adds another level of complexity for people like Trevor Monson.

He coordinates almond pollination for a number of farms between Tooleybuc and Hattah.

COVID-19 challenges

“The beekeepers have been very good with the [border] papers, ”he said.

A man wearing a shirt and hi-vis jacket stands in an orchard of blossoming almond trees
Pollination coordinator Trevor Monson is overseeing the delivery of 400 bee trucks, which will be based between Tooleybuc and Hattah.(

ABC Mildura-Swan Hill: Jennifer Douglas


Mr Monson said this year’s COVID-19 restrictions were even more difficult to navigate than last year.

“We ask beekeepers to get tested before loading their bees.

“We’re only three miles from the border. They come in, unload and go,” Monson said.

The almond orchards of northwest Victoria should be in full bloom within days.

Close-up on a bee sitting in a flower on an almond tree
Over 270,000 beehives are heading to Victoria to help pollinate the almonds.(

ABC Mildura-Swan Hill: Jennifer Douglas


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