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Byron Shire
May 24, 2024

Financial and emotional aid for beekeepers

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Apart from the damage caused by varroa mite infestations across the state, the beekeeping industry is also suffering a lot of heartbreak as euthanasia is often the only course of action.

A rural charity has restated its support of commercial beekeepers as concern mounts over the continuing spread of the invasive mite.

More than 260 outbreaks of varroa mite have now been detected since June 2022, when the alarm was first raised at the Port of Newcastle.

Rural Aid Chief Executive Officer John Warlters said that like everyone involved in agriculture, Rural Aid is enormously concerned for our beekeepers and our ‘littlest livestock’. ‘Rural Aid is supporting beekeepers with an offer of $1,500 of financial assistance and rural counsellors on standby to provide emotional support.’

The detection of varroa mite in hives in the Sunraysia region of southern New South Wales – one of the most heavily bee-dependent regions for the pollination of crops – had further heightened concerns for the industry.

NSW DPI said Sunraysia was currently hosting the largest concentration of managed European honeybee hives in Australia to provide pollination services for almond orchards.
Rural Aid has provided more than $500,000 to beekeepers since 2015 and is ready to again provide a hand-up to producers when it is needed most.

‘Our thoughts are with beekeepers and their families at this time. It must be soul-destroying to see precious hives euthanised on top of the significant financial impact.

‘Rural Aid has experienced an increase in calls from distressed beekeepers who are understandably upset that their livelihoods and livestock are in jeopardy.

Mr Warlters said the Rural Aid counselling team is specially trained to help primary producers navigate crisis. ‘We thank the NSW DPI for their trust in encouraging apiarists to reach out to Rural Aid.

‘We are urging affected beekeepers to get in touch with Rural Aid at this distressing time.’

Varroa-mite-affected beekeepers can apply for assistance here.
Donations can be made here.

Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au.

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  1. It must be remembered.
    that it was bee-keepers who imported the infected foreign bees into Newcastle.
    It is bee-keepers who are spreading the mite via their infected hives to commercialise the bees in various lucrative pollination deals.
    Crop pollination would be effectively carried out by native bees if they were encouraged and not starved out by imported feral honey- bees.
    Cheers, G”)

  2. Its all over now, DPI have given up, as Varroa has spread out of control.
    Now its about, ‘Living with Varroa’.

    Being a backyard tomato grower, I hope to see more of my Blue Banded Bee ( a native bee ) friends buzzing around the yard.


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