The NSW Apiarists’ Association (NSWAA) estimates that up to 5,000 beehives have been lost in the floods. Steve Fuller from the NSWAA said: “Some of these guys are at their wits’ end. The apiarist industry has been hit three years in a row. We’ve had the bushfires, then we’ve had the floods on the Mid North Coast last year, and now the floods up here [in northern NSW].”
Fuller, who was also hit by flooding at his Grafton property, said many apiarists will now be unable to keep pollination contracts with the berry sector, which would have flow-on effects.
There was little warning for anyone in the Northern Rivers ahead of the flooding that rewrote history. Moreover, even with notice, moving hives is tricky business.
“Once you’ve got them on the truck to move them out of low lying areas you’ve got to find an area where you can safely put them down so they are really hard to move,” Fuller said.