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About Us

Protecting bees for food security and ecosystem health

The Wheen Bee Foundation is an Australian not-for-profit charity that promotes awareness of the importance of bees for food security, and raises funds for research that addresses the national and global threats to bees.

We engage with all levels of government, the apiculture industry, bee-reliant food industries, universities, research organisations and community.

We fund vital strategic research and education initiatives that strengthen bees, improve pollination efficiency and increase food security and ecosystem health.

The core objectives of the foundation are to:

  1. Fund Research & Development
  2. Raise Awareness of the importance of bees for food security and ecosystem health.
  3. Connect People integral to the cause.

The Wheen Bee Foundation is not a lobby group and specifically does not advocate on industry issues.

Make a donation to Wheen Bee Foundation

All donations help us address the national and global threats to bees by providing funding for much-needed research and education.

You can help — donate now to help save our bees.

Download our current Impact Report to understand the vital work we’ve undertaken in the last year.

Vital research and education to ensure our food security.

Supporting honey bee research and development

Since its foundation in 2009, the Wheen Bee Foundation has established itself as Australia’s premier, not-for-profit organisation supporting honey bee research and development.

Its founder, Gretchen Wheen, was a well-known commercial beekeeper specializing in the supply of quality queen bees for local and overseas markets.

Wheen recognised the fundamental link between honey bees and food security, and was concerned about the growing threats to the beekeeping industry. Before she died she donated her farm and other resources to establish the Wheen Bee Foundation, with the aim of supporting and developing research, innovation, training and communication to ensure a viable beekeeping industry and protect our food supply.

The Foundation actively works to attract donations to enable further research and innovation projects to achieve its mission of food security through bee security.

The Wheen Bee Foundation is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

The Foundation’s Research Fund is a registered Deductible Gift Recipient, which means any gifts and contributions to The Wheen Bee Foundation Research Fund are tax deductible.


We exist to ensure there is sufficient bee-pollinated food to meet the health requirements of an expanding global population.


Our vision is to see healthy bees and prosperous bee industries with the capacity to provide crop pollination services for food production in a healthy ecosystem.


To facilitate and enable strategic bee research, education and public awareness that improves industry viability, pollination and food security.


  • We act ethically and always engage with respect, fairness, integrity and professionalism
  • We cherish the role of knowledge and its application through scientific research, beekeeper experience and education
  • We recognise food security and ecosystem health as key pillars for the wellbeing of humanity
  • Our members, donors, supporters and stakeholders are our most important assets and we will seek to deliver value and meaningful benefits for them all.
  • We seek a strategic and solutions-based approach to issues and problems associated with our cause.


  • To support research, development and extension activities that will improve the efficiency of bee pollination in dependent food crops and the environment.
  • To leverage public awareness of the role of bees to food security and ecosystem health.
  • To connect people integral to the cause to work towards bee security for the future.
  • To grow as a viable, self-sustaining Foundation.
Gretchen Wheen
Gretchen Wheen – Founder Wheen Bee Foundation

Research Priorities

The Wheen Bee Foundation has identified the following programs and projects as priorities for funding.

1. Well-nourished resilient bees

  • Responsible access to floral resources
  • Improved access to reliable and varied crops
  • Safe supplementary bee feeds

2. Pollination and food security

  • Managing honey bees as efficient pollinators
  • Supporting the development of a national pollination strategy

3. Healthy bees

  • Managing bees and the following diseases, pests and stress factors
    • Varroa mite
    • American Foulbrood (AFB)
    • European Foulbrood (EFB)
    • Small Hive Beetle
    • Nosema spp
    • Chalkbrood
    • Viral diseases

4. Safe bees

  • Improved biosecurity and surveillance
  • Increasing number of sentinel hives protecting our shores

5. Climate-ready beekeeping

  • Plan Bee – selecting queen bees, helping them to adapt
  • Creating climate-ready bee habitats

6. Growing beekeeper skills

  • Enhance engagement in Participatory Action Research
  • Funding Beekeeper Overseas Exchange scholarships
  • Funding beekeeper attendance at conferences

7. Building research capacity

  • Funding postgraduate and postdoc researchers
  • Supporting summer internships
  • Funding equipment grants
  • Providing top-up scholarships for bee researchers

8. Native bees

  • Supporting one hero native bee project per year
  • Supporting taxonomy of native bees
  • Investigating the commercial application of using native bees for crop pollination
You can help — donate now to help save our bees.