The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is providing support to bee farmers in their efforts at protecting their hives from pests that could threaten the industry.
“The management of pests such as the varroa mites and the small hive beetles forms a great part of the work being done by the Apiculture Unit,” said State Minister Franklin Witter.
“This is executed through active on-farm training initiatives and I’m very happy to report that the infestation, to date, remains at a very manageable level,” he noted while addressing a recent World Bee Day event at the ministry’s headquarters in St Andrew.
He said that the ministry is also working to eliminate the threat of the deadly American Foulbrood (AFB) disease on the island.
During the last financial year, more than 16,000 routine hive inspections were carried out for AFB during 1,220 apiary visits across the island.
“From these inspections, no clinical symptoms of disease were detected,” Witter reported.
On the matter of the issuing of permits for the transportation of beehives, the state minister said 36 permits were granted in 2021 for the movement of 339 honeybee colonies across the island.
Jamaica’s beekeeping industry currently features some 67,000 colonies, with St Catherine and St Mary accounting for the largest population of beekeepers.
Meanwhile, as part of measures to regulate the industry, Witter said a digital tool has been developed to enable beekeepers to register online.
“To support this, a digital registration link has been developed on the ministry’s website to facilitate ease of doing business with the Apiculture Unit,” he said.