Red Zone to expand due to new Varroa mite detection

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Varroa mite tracing and surveillance work has confirmed a new detection of Varroa mite, as field officers continue hive inspections with beekeepers across the state.

The new detection at a property near Cessnock brings the total number of infested premises to 103 since Varroa 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 new infested hives will require an expansion of the current red zone from its borders, and a new biosecurity order has been made.

“NSW DPI has put significant measures in place to arrest the spread of the threat beyond the perimeters of the eradication zones,” Mr Kumar said.

“This new detection has been directly traced to an existing infested premises within the eradication zone.

“The purple zone was established to enable the response to delimit the spread of the Varroa mite from the infested sites and our surveillance efforts to date have and continue to provide the response a high level of confidence in containment.

The response has carried out surveillance on more than 10,000 hives in the purple zone. Across the state the response staff have surveyed almost 30,000 hives with no Varroa mite detection.

Through the approved hive movement program in the General Emergency Zone, beekeepers have tested over 85,000 hives. This program has been extended where beekeepers are now required to carry out mandatory alcohol wash surveillance a minimum of every 16 weeks.

“The cooperation of industry and the community is vital in helping the response to achieve the goal of eradication. DPI can only act on the information provided to us so I strongly encourage beekeepers to ensure they report the results of all mandatory alcohol washes and to notify DPI immediately of any concerns about the suspect presence of Varroa mites.

Australia is the only major honey producing country free from varroa mite, the most serious pest of 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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