PROFESSOR: Good morning everyone. In today’s seminar, Grant Freeman, a biologist who specialises in identifying insects, and who works for the Australian Quarantine Service, has come to talk to us about his current research work. Right, well, over to you, Grant.
GRANT: Good morning, everyone. I’m sure that you know that the quarantine service regulates all food brought into Australia. Well, obviously they want to protect Australia from diseases that might come in with imported goods, but they also want to prevent insect pests from being introduced into the country, and that’s where I have a particular type of them around in various states of Australia. We discovered a few of them in Queensland(Q21) once and eradicated them. Now, we’re pretty keen to make sure that there aren’t any more getting in, particularly to New South Wales and other states.
STUDENT 1: What’s wrong with Asian Honey Bees? Are they so different from Australian bees?
GRANT: Well, in fact, they look almost the same, but they are infested with mites(Q22) – microscopic creatures which live on them, and which can seriously damage our own home – grown bees, or could even wipe them out.
PROFESSOR: Well, what would happen if Australian bees died out?
GRANT: Well, the honey from Australian bees is of excellent quality, much better than the stuff the Asian bees produce. In that, Australia exports native Queen bees to a large number of countries because of this (Q23). When the European Honey Bee was first discovered out in the bush, we found they made really unpleasant honey and they were also too big to pollinate many of our native flowers here in Australia.
STUDENT 2: That must have had a devastating effect on the natural flora. Did you lose any species?
GRANT: No, we managed to get them under control before that happened but if Asian bees got in there could be other consequences. We could lose a lot of money (Q24) because you might not be aware, but it’s estimated that native bees’ pollination of flower and vegetable crops is worth 1.2 billion dollars a year. So in a way they’re the farmer’s friend. Oh, and another thing is, if you’re stung by an Asian Honey Bee, it can produce an allergic reaction in some people; so they’re much more dangerous than native bees.
PROFESSOR: How will you know if Asian bees have entered Australia?
GRANT: We’re looking at the diet of the bird called the Rainbow Bee Eater. The Bee Eater doesn’t care what it eats, as long as they’re insects(Q25). But the interesting thing about this is that we are able to analyse exactly what it eats and that’s really helpful if we’re looking for introduced insects.
PROFESSOR: How come?
GRANT: Because insects have their skeletons outside their bodies, so the Bee Eaters digest the meat from the inside. Then they bring up all the indigestible bits of skeletons and, of course, the wings in a pellet – a small ball of waste material which they cough up.
PROFESSOR: That sounds a bit unpleasant. So, how do you go about it?
GRANT: In the field we track down the Bee Eaters and find their favourite feeding(Q26) spots, you know, the place where the birdsusually feed. It’s here that we can find the pellets. We collect them up and them back to the laboratory(Q27) to examine the contents.
PROFESSOR: How do you do that?
Choose the correct letter, A, B or C. Honey Bees in Australia
21. Where in Australia have Asian honey bees been found in the past?
B. New South Wales
C. several stales
22. A problem with Asian honey bees is that they
A. attack native bees
B. carry parasites
C. damage crops.
23. What point is made about Australian bees?
A. Their honey varies in quality.
B. Their size stops them from pollinating some flowers.
C. They are sold to customers abroad.
24. Grant Freeman says that if Asian honey bees got into Australian.
A. the country’s economy would be affected.
B. they could be used in the study of allergies.
C. certain areas of agriculture would benefit.
Complete the summary below. Write ONE WORD ONLY for each answer.
Looking for Asian honey bees
Birds called Rainbow Bee Eaters eat only 25……………………… , and cough up small bits of skeleton and other products in a pellet.
Researchers go to the locations the bee eaters like to use for 26………………………
They collect the pellets and take them to a 27……………………… for analysis.
Here 28……………………… is used to soften them, and the researchers look for the 29……………………… of Asian bees in the pellets.
The benefit of this research is that the result is more 30……………………… than searching for live Asian.