Varroa mites in NSW – Status Update

The NSW Government is currently working through an emergency response in reaction to a varroa mite (Varroa destructor) incursion that has taken place in New South Wales. Varroa mites were first detected in two of six sentinel hives at the Port of Newcastle on Wednesday 22 June 2022. As of 7 July, the NSW DPI has ordered a halt to the movement of beehives and honeybees across the state. DPI, Local Land Services, NSW Police, Rural Fire Service and the wider community are all working together to assist the apiary industry to arrest the spread of the parasite. An eradication plan is in place, which is supported by a Varroa mite emergency zones covering areas within a 50km radius of infested premises. Eradication is also being undertaken for known feral colonies in the surveillance emergency zones.

NSW DPI will conduct ongoing surveillance of managed colonies within the surveillance emergency zones to ensure the spread of Varroa mite is prevented.

As of 7 July, new detections have been found at Berry Park, Heatherbrae, Seaham and Hinton making the total number of infested premises to 28 since Varroa mite was first identified during routine surveillance at the Port of Newcastle on 22 June.

John Tyas, CEO of Avocados Australia, believes that it is vitally important that avocado growers contact their commercial beehive providers and stay in regular contact with them as the situation develops.

Members of Avocados Australia’s staff are taking part in regular briefings about the situation as we are members of the National Biosecurity Communication and Engagement Network.

“We are keeping up to date with the situation and will inform industry as news comes to hand,” said John Tyas.

Avocados Australia is working on behalf of the avocado industry along with other affected industries, State and commonwealth governments to agree on a response plan and a funding commitment for eradication.

At this stage avocado growers outside of NSW can source commercial hives as long as they do not originate from NSW. Special meetings are currently happening to discuss the movement of hives and when decisions have been made we will be able to inform the industry.

More information is available from NSW DPI, including an interactive map showing the biosecurity zones for Varroa mite: here.


The article appears as part of the Guacamole issue dated 8 July 2022.

Author: Anna Petrou
Date Published: 07/07/2022