Varroa mite incursion detected in NSW

The NSW Government is urging beekeepers across the state to safeguard their industry after biosecurity surveillance detected Varroa mite in hives at the Port of Newcastle.

NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders says swift measures are being taken to contain the disease, which is the most serious pest for honey bees worldwide.

“We have immediately launched an eradication plan which involved setting up a biosecurity zone, containing the infected hives and euthanising the bees,” Mr Saunders said.

“Australia is the only major honey producing country free from Varroa mite and if it has the chance to establish here, it could cost the honey industry more than $70 million a year.

The Biosecurity Zone covers an area within a 50 kilometre radius of the Port of Newcastle. Beekeepers within this zone must not move or tamper with their hives.

They must also notify the NSW Department of Primary Industries with the location of all of their hives.

“Biosecurity is one of my top priorities and beekeepers have been working with the Government through the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program to act as an early warning system,” Mr Saunders said.

“If it weren’t for their diligence in monitoring hives and catch boxes at strategic locations around our ports and airports, this threat may have gone undetected.”

The mites are tiny reddish-brown parasites and are easily identifiable to the naked eye.

If you have bee hives located within the biosecurity zone please notify DPI of their location by calling 1800 084 881 or completing the form on this website: https://forms.bfs.dpi.nsw.gov.au/forms/9247

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