In June 2022, Varroa destructor mites were detected in sentinel beehives at Newcastle port. The DPI began an eradication program aimed at preventing the establishment and spread of the mites in Australia. Despite this campaign and the efforts of the beekeeping community, varroa continued to spread throughout NSW with the movements of commercially managed hives for agricultural pollination.
As of 19 September 2023, the National Management Group (NMG) as peak decision body for the National Varroa Mite Emergency Response reached a decision to shift the focus of the response from eradication to transitioning to management of varroa. [CLICK HERE FOR OFFICIAL INFO]
This officially marks Australia joining the rest of the world in counting the varroa mite as endemic.
Our hearts go out to all of the beekeepers who’ve had their bees euthanised as part of the effort to prevent this line from being crossed, and we’re glad that further destruction of colonies can now be halted. Although it’s unfortunate that the eradication program hasn’t been successful, we think it’s worth noting that the rest of the world has already learned how to live with the mites and shown that it’s very achievable.
The health of both managed and wild pollinators has never been so crucial, and the role of Australian beekeepers is now more important than ever.
For our NSW customers - we recommend continuing to follow spring management best practices, keep monitoring your hives regularly as per the mandates, and ensure your hive registrations are up to date in order to receive official updates as they are issued.
In addition to following the official instructions for your state/region (see link at top of page) and keeping up to speed with updates from the official bodies:
MAKE SURE YOUR HIVE IS REGISTERED To assist in managing incidents like this, if you haven’t already registered your hive (or if your registration has lapsed) please make sure you register or renew. If you’re a Flow customer, you’ll have instructions on how to register in your inbox from when you purchased your hive. Also make sure your contact details are up to date, and make sure any beekeepers you know have registered their hives.
VOLUNTEER! Beekeepers in NSW who want to volunteer for the ongoing monitoring effort can express interest through their recreation or industry association (ie: your local beekeeping club).
In the emergency notification areas:
IDENTIFY AND REPORT FERAL HONEYBEE COLONIES If you discover the location of a feral colony in NSW, you must let the DPI know! This can be done by: A) Completing the Report a Biosecurity Concern form (nsw.gov.au) B) Calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline, 1800 084 881 (9am to 5pm, 7 days a week) C) Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re monitoring things closely as the situation unfolds and are aiming to determine the best ways that we can be of support to our customers in the affected regions and to the wider Australian beekeeping sphere.