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Byron Shire
February 28, 2024

More infestations of Varroa found in Newcastle area

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What many people don’t know is that without bees, the large variety of plant food on their plate will be decimated because these little buzzers provide an essential service – pollination.

The Varroa mite (Varroa destructor and Varroa jacobsoni) is a parasite of adult European honey bees* and honey bee brood. It weakens and kills European honey bee colonies and can also transmit honey bee viruses.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Varroa mite tracing and surveillance work has confirmed nine new detections of Varroa mite in the Newcastle area, bringing the total number of infested premises to 73.

Nine new detections

NSW DPI Acting Chief Plant Protection Officer Chris Anderson said nine new detections were found within existing emergency zones at Raymond Terrace (four premises), Mayfield East, Tarro, Heatherbrae (two premises) and Ferodale.

Mr Anderson said the overall area covered by the eradication zones hasn’t changed significantly, but a new emergency order has been issued to include the new sites. ‘We have refocused our efforts on tracing and euthanising hives within the eradication zone, which has led to an increased number of detections in recent days.

‘The good news is that all the confirmed cases either have clear links to existing cases or are geographically linked through the movement of hives or equipment, which continues to give us confidence we are on the right track.

Management of swarming

Mr Anderson said he wanted to remind beekeepers that the NSW DPI has made allowances for the management of swarming in the zones.

‘Empty supers can be placed on hives to manage swarming if you are not on an infested or suspect premise.

‘Supers cannot be moved from any biosecurity zone and beekeepers must comply with conditions set out in the emergency order which can be found, along with a new swarming factsheet with further information, on the NSW DPI website,’ said Dr Anderson.

DPI’s response plan for the eradication of Varroa mite in NSW follows a strategy agreed between the apiary industry, NSW DPI, neighbouring jurisdictions and the Commonwealth.

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

A factsheet on swarming and more information is available from www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa.

*Current research suggests that the Varroa mite does not attack Australian native bees as they have a very different biology from European honey bees.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Now that the “total number of infested premises to 73.” and the infestation is totally out of control, it must be remembered these are the departments that imported the cane toad , have had no effect on controlling the fire ant nor the yellow crazy ant, it is comforting to know the premise the the European honey bee is indispensable for food production is of course nonsense. Australia is the home of hundreds of species of native bees ( who’s existence are put at jeopardy by the introduction of the feral European honey bee )
    None of the DPI’s concerns have prevented them allowing millions of these potentially infected NSW bees, to travel to almond plantations for the perfect super-spreader scenario. Surely this decision would not be influenced by the short- term profit of the irrigation industries ! ? ?
    Cheers, G”)

  2. Ken, “Cane Toads” were privately imported by Qld cane-farmers in 1930s from Hawaii, not ‘the departments’.
    If you only appreciated how hard DPI/AQUIS work to protect Australia every day from exotic pests/diseases you wouldn’t continue to spread your Furphys.

    • Rubbish ! ,
      Cane toads were imported from a conference in Hawaii at the urgings of DPI officials , they were also the department that imported and multiplied camphor laurel at Wollongbar ,then distributed them to all schools and councils throughout Australia . These clowns also imported prickly pear to facilitate the cochineal industry , and in the sixties in order to placate some stupid and greedy sheep farmers , they OKed the export of the once unique merino breed to South America , thus ending Australia’s lucrative monopoly.
      The list goes on forever of the incompetence and counter-productive bumblings of the greatest organised (?) threat to Australia’s biosecurity.
      It seems “Furphys” are all in your court, Rob L.

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