Varroa mites in NSW – Status Update 29 July 2022

The NSW Government continues to work through its emergency response in reaction to a varroa mite (Varroa destructor) incursion that has taken place in New South Wales. As of 29 July, NSW now has 53 infected premises. The new detections are all identified within existing zones in the Hunter area, due to increased surveillance in the eradication zone. Euthanising of infected premises continues within these red zones.

As per the agreed response plan with industry, all movements of hives and equipment onto and off infected premises over the past 12-months will be traced, and risk analysis and surveillance will be conducted to minimise further spread. Movement of hives, brood boxes, nucleus hives, packaged bees and queen bees are not permitted anywhere in NSW.

Registered commercial beekeepers within low-risk areas of NSW can complete a Hive Movement Declaration to move honeybees and hives, to allow for business continuity and to provide pollination services. There are explicit requirements on beekeepers before moving.

Beekeepers in all zones except red eradication zone, are permitted to work their hives, remove frames for honey extraction and place empty supers on full hives. DPI, Local Land Services, NSW Police, NSW Rural Fire Service and the wider community are all working together to assist the apiary industry to arrest the spread of the parasite.

A Biosecurity Emergency Group Permit allows the movement of hives and honeybees to and from Queensland to transit through New South Wales.

Hives and honeybees that have been in an eradication zone within the past 24 months or in the Narrabri emergency zones since 30 April 2022 are not permitted to be moved under the permit.

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

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

This article appears as part of the Guacamole issue dated 22 July 2022.

Author: Anna Petrou
Date Published: 21/07/2022