“About 90 fruit and vegetable crops, including melons, pumpkins, and even cotton are more productive with their help.
“And almond crops rely entirely on honeybees for pollination and Australia’s young almond industry is booming right now in the tri-State region.”
Since varroa mite and other bee diseases hit America and wiped out huge numbers, US beekeepers have also relied on NSWgrown stock to help pollinate their almond trees.
In 2006, Australian beekeepers cashed in, shipping export package bees worth $3-4 million to America.
However, this is in contrast with the rest of the local industry, beset by poor yields and low prices, brought on by the drought.
“The bee industry had a reasonable summer honey crop, but domestic prospects for the next two years look very bleak,” Dr Somerville said.
“There will be very few eucalypt flowerings in the next 12 months, which will lead to a yield well below average in the Australian honey crop over the next 12 months to two years.”
All sections of the local industry accept that the arrival of destructor in Australia is a matter of when, not if, and its effects would be far more dramatic than a wide incursion of Apis cerana.