Skyrail surveillance for pest bees

Skyrail News: April 2009


Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is assisting eradication efforts against the Asian honeybee, by having feeding stations installed at its stations and terminals in April.

Biosecurity Queensland Surveillance Manager for the Asian honeybee, Mr Wim De Jong, said the feeding stations would provide important data for the surveillance of the declared pest.

"Skyrail will provide us with a window into the rainforest, so we can see what is up there," Mr De Jong said.


Pictured L to R: Skyrail Ranger Tore Linde, Wim De Jong from Biosecurity Queensland and Skyrail General Manager, Max Shepherd.

"Skyrail is a great opportunity for us to monitor several different levels of the rainforest at the same time, from the residential fringes at Smithfield Terminal, to the pristine rainforest at Red Peak Station, to the disturbed rainforest areas around its Kuranda Station," he said.

Skyrail General Manager Max Shepherd said the rainforest cableway was proud to support surveillance activities on the pest bees.

"Skyrail's Rangers will assist to provide early warning of potential Asian honeybee populations in the Wet Tropics Rainforests, by observing what is visiting the stations and reporting back to Biosecurity Queensland," he said.

"We will also monitor bird feeding behaviours and be watchful for any swarming activities."

The feeding stations will be in place at Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for approximately six weeks, during which time Skyrail's Environment Department will be in close contact with Biosecurity Queensland.

Background

Asian honeybees were first detected in Cairns in May 2007. Since that time, more than 20 nests and swarms have been located and destroyed across the region. Surveillance teams actively look for unusual bees on flowering plants and use a sweep net to catch bees for identification. In addition, feeding stations, such as the ones at Skyrail, are established to lure bees from timbered areas and mangrove forests, which are difficult areas to access for surveillance purposes.

Mr De Jong said: "We will be placing pollen and sugary attractants in the boxes to lure any bees in the vicinity, and then working closely with Skyrail to see if they spot anything unusual. We are also testing around Lake Morris Road, as this backs on to the Mount Sheridan area, which is where we caught a swarm two weeks ago."


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