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The wildfires that swept across Australia’s east and south killed millions of bees and destroyed vast tracts of forest where the insects feed, putting the country’s almond and honey production at risk.
Bees play a crucial role in the nation’s multi-billion dollar horticulture industry, pollinating not just almonds but fruit, including apples, pears and cherries. Australia is the world’s second-largest producer of almonds and growers are already grappling with years of drought.
The fires destroyed about 6,000 hives in New South Wales state alone, according to NSW Apiarists Association President Stephen Targett, with other hives experiencing stock losses as bees perished or were lost in thick smoke.
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