New Varroa detections expand red zone

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) tracing and surveillance work has confirmed a new detection of Varroa mite.

The new case at a property near Lochinvar, between the Stanhope and Maitland Eradication (red) zones brings the total number of infested premises to 104 since the mite was first identified during routine surveillance at the Port of Newcastle on 22 June.

NSW DPI Chief Plant Protection Officer Satendra Kumar said the current eradication zone will be expanded to cover this infected premises and a new biosecurity order has been made.

“NSW DPI is putting significant resources into surveillance across the purple zones which surround the red zones, so it is not unexpected that we would find some mites,” Mr Kumar said.

“The purple zone is there so we can delimit the spread of the Varroa mite from the infested sites and we remain confident in containment.

“Response staff have carried out surveillance on over 10,000 hives in the purple zone, and almost 30,000 hives state-wide.”

Furthermore, beekeepers have tested over 85,000 hives through the approved hive movement program in the General Emergency Zone and all beekeepers are now required to carry out mandatory alcohol wash surveillance at least every 16 weeks.

“NSW DPI acknowledges this incursion is difficult for many people and would like to thank the industry and communities helping the response to achieve the goal of eradication,” Dr Kumar said.

Australia is the only major honey producing country free from varroa mite, the most serious pest to honeybees worldwide.

Beekeepers work side-by-side with government as part of Australia’s early warning system to detect exotic honeybee pests, the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program, which includes surveillance hives and catch boxes at strategic locations around our ports and airports.

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