NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) surveillance and tracing work has confirmed four new detections of Varroa mite in the Hunter and Central Coast areas.
These cases bring the total number of infected premises to 112 since Varroa mite was first identified at the Port of Newcastle in June 2022.
Chief Plant Protection Officer Satendra Kumar said the new detections at Vacy and Tumbi Umbi fall within the eradication zone, while another was located in the surveillance zone at Allworth.
“In the Hunter area we will see an expansion of the eradication zone north and west of Vacy and a larger extension to the north of Karuah,” Dr Kumar said.
“There will also be a very slight expansion on the Central Coast, south of Tumbi Umbi, with a new emergency order now in place.”
“These new detections are not unexpected with the level of surveillance work being carried out by response teams who have tested close to 12,000 hives in the surveillance zone and more than 32,000 hives state-wide.”
Destruction of hives has begun at the infected properties and trace investigations are underway.
“We remain committed to eradicating Varroa mite from NSW after National agreement earlier this month to declare proof of freedom in the Blue Zone,” Dr Kumar said.
“While this is a positive step forward for the response, now more than ever we need beekeepers to ensure they are doing the right thing so we continue to move in the right direction.”
“The data collected through hive movement declarations and mandatory alcohol washes is vital to maintaining confidence in the containment of this devastating pest”
As part of the response, it is mandatory for all beekeepers to carry out alcohol washes at least every 16 weeks and to report these results to DPI by filling out the online form at dpi.nsw.gov.au or calling 1800 084 881.
Beekeepers in the General Emergency Zone or Blue Zone can only move bees or hives if they complete the hive movement declaration form online., which must be completed within 72 hours of the movement taking place.
DPI reminds all beekeepers across the State to ensure they are aware of the requirements for each zone and stresses that non-compliance with these requirements can result in significant penalties and fines.
“Achieving the goal of eradication is a shared responsibility between NSW DPI, industry and the community and I would like thank all those who have done their part through what we know is a difficult time,” Dr Kumar said.