Australian trees a boon for Israel’s bees

September 7, 2010 Agencies
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Australian eucalyptus trees have come to the rescue of Israel’s bees…and reversed the dwindling production of honey.

There are over 450 beekeepers in Israel, producing 3,600 tons of honey annually. They faced the problem of dwindling production as the majority of Israel’s plants bloom once a year only on the spring creating a dilemma solved only by feeding the bees sugar solutions or transporting them to other parts of the country…both expensive alternatives.

12 years ago, the Jewish National Fund responded to a joint intiative between the Israel Honey Board and Dr Dan Aizikovich a professor at Tel Aviv University by introducing a variety of species of eucalyptus trees from Australia. Experimental trials produced species which were both suitable for Israel’s harsh climate and highly productive in nectar-producing blooms.

Two years later, David Brand, chief forester and head of the forest department at KKL-JNF found species which would bloom in Israel and produce the right nectar for Israel’s hungry bees.

So far, more than 100,000 trees have been distributed to beekeepers in Israel and neighbouring Jordan is now embracing the project.

Israel’s beekeepers are over the moon. The trees produce copious shade enabling them to leave their hives close to the blooming trees and avoiding the expensive necessity of  transporting them to follow the pattern of Israel’s native blooming plants.

Brand said: “Honey production in Israel is sure to increase with the increasing availabilty of nectar.”

Rob Schneider, CEO of JNF, told J-Wire: “The sharing of expertise between Australia & Israel is ongoing and JNF Australia has been at the fore of much of this exchange of valuable resource & data. Some years ago, JNF researchers found a natural predator to the gall wasp in Qld thus assisting in eliminating a threat to a certain species of eucalyptus tree that was being threatened in Israel & many other countries.

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