Beekeepers have backed the peak association's call for temporary access to unburnt national parks after bushfires destroyed swathes of forest country.
The fires have resulted in fewer nectar and pollen sources for bees at a time when the drought is compounding the situation.
NSW Apiarists' Association president Stephen Targett said they urged the state government to allow beekeepers temporary access to unburnt national parks and state conservation areas over autumn and winter until they saw substantial regrowth of the forests.
Johns River-based beekeeper Sven Stephan said that was a really good idea.
"There's so much burnt, we need other areas to keep them [bees] alive," Mr Stephan said.
He said it would take years for the burnt forests to recover, flower again and produce nectar and pollen for the bees.
"Even the areas that are not burnt, they are still dry," Mr Stephan said.
"There is not much nectar so the bees have a really, really hard time."
Mr Stephan and Ana Martin from Amber Drop Honey lost 14 beehives to fire at Black Head in 2019.
Lilian Smith from Lighthouse Honey also recognises the need for alternate food sources for bees.
She said temporary access to unburnt national parks and state conservation areas would provide more options and allow for the survival of the bees.
Ms Smith said the fires and drought presented a double whammy.
A state government spokesperson said the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) was aware the NSW Apiarists' Association has requested permission for beekeeping in national parks during the bushfire emergency.
"The government appreciates the concerns raised by the NSW Apiarists' Association and the NPWS will meet with the NSW Apiarists' Association to discuss possible solutions that take into account the needs of native wildlife, which may rely on the same food sources," the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said during this bushfire crisis, the state government was standing up and supporting all primary industries that have been severely impacted, including apiarists.
"While National Parks and the laws around allowing bees in national parks are the responsibility of Minister Kean as the Minister for the Environment, I will be meeting with the NSW Apiarists' Association to discuss exactly how we can help the industry recover both in the short and long term," he said.
In the meantime, Mr Marshall urged apiarists affected by the fires to call the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647 to access free feed.
Mr Targett said they really appreciated the rapid response from the NSW Department of Primary Industries to provide a short-term food source of sugar supplements for the bees in the fire-affected areas.
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