Varroa mite detections in NSW – UpdateNews
Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) was detected in sentinel hives at the Port of Newcastle on Wednesday 22 June 2022. The detection was the result of routine surveillance on sentinel hives by NSW Bee Biosecurity Officers. Since the first detection, NSW field officers have continued to carry out hive inspections and surveillance of managed hives for mites with beekeepers. Eradication will also be undertaken for known feral colonies in the surveillance emergency zones.
There are currently (as of 12 July 2022) 38 confirmed premises at which Varroa mite has been detected. All cases are linked to previously known cases. Notification, Eradication or Surveillance zones have been established within a 50 km radius of Port Newcastle.
Under the current response strategy, agreed to by Affected industries that are signatories to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) and government, the eradication plan includes treatment of beehives within a 10 km emergency zone around all positive detection sites. NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) with assistance from the Australian Government, is undertaking surveillance and inspection of managed and feral honeybee hives and nests within a 25 km surveillance zone of each infested site to limit the extent of the incursion. Beekeepers within the 50 km notification zone of each infested site, must notify NSW DPI of the location of their hives.
Honey bee movement
NSW: On 26 June, a Biosecurity Emergency Order was enacted for a state-wide standstill of all bees, hives, apiary equipment and untreated bee products in NSW. The order is being enforced by NSW Police.
Beekeepers are now permitted to work hives after NSW DPI emergency order to allow NSW beekeepers, in all zones except the red eradication zone, to work their hives. *LINK* https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/about-us/media-centre/releases/2022/general/beekeepers-permitted-to-work-hives. This will allow beekeepers to reduce swarming as spring approaches.
NSW beekeepers must notify NSW DPI of the location of all hives within the 50km notification zone, by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.
For current information: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa
All other states and territories have, or are putting in place, movement control orders to restrict the movement of bees and hives from NSW into their jurisdiction.
For current information:
Western Australia: https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/bees/varroa-mite-biosecurity-alert
South Australia: www.pir.sa.gov.au/varroa
What you can do?
- Talk to your beekeeper about your requirements for the upcoming pollination season.
- Make sure bees moving onto your property are doing so according to the regulations set in place by the relevant jurisdiction.
- NSW beekeepers must notify NSW DPI of the location of all hives within the 50km notification zone, by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. This will put you in touch with your state or territory’s biosecurity agency.
- Information about bee biosecurity, hive care, and photos that will help you identify varroa mite, are available on the Bee Aware website org.au.
- All people who have acquired honeybees (including queen bees, nucleus hives and hives with honeybees) from within the 50 km emergency notification zone of the Port of Newcastle in the last 12 months are being urged to play their part by reporting them to help ensure business continuity for the bee industry.
- Check dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa for the most up to date information.
What is Varroa mite?
- Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) is a very small, reddish-brown mite that is parasitic on European honey bees (Apis mellifera) (EHB). It is considered to be the most serious pest of honeybees worldwide. Australia is the only major honey producing country free from Varroa mite. The potential impact of Varroa mite to the honey and broader primary industries is significant. The value of honeybees providing pollination services to Australia’s agricultural industries is valued at $14.2 billion. If Varroa mite were to establish in Australia, European honey bee and the pollination services provided could be reduced by 90-100 per cent.