Varroa Mite Detection in Newcastle, NSW

This portal has been specifically designed as an information portal to support industry during the response and eradication phase to eliminate Varroa destructor detected in the Port of Newcastle on the 22nd of June 2022.

The QBA Executive team will endeavour to publish updates relating to the incursion as frequently as physically possible. QBA members will continue to receive email updates via our dedicated communication channels.

If you are interested in supporting the QBA by becoming a member, please click here to complete your application for membership. Once you have completed your application and settled your membership invoice, you will be automatically added to our members communication list. 

Whilst we appreciate the anxiety within industry in the wake of the announcement of the detection of varroa, and the added concern it has raised about our future, please know your team at the QBA is on the front line of the response efforts here in Queensland, whilst continuing to provide support to the national effort.  

To report varroa mite detections in Queensland 

Call: Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23

or the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881 

Please click on the logo of the agencies/association below to access latest updates. 




Biosecurity Queensland - Hive Surveillance Portal 

Click here to access the portal

Call for Volunteers

AHBIC are seeking expressions in interest (EOI) from experienced beekeepers interested in offering their time to volunteer and support the response program on the ground in NSW. In order offer your time to the program you must be a full financial member of a member body of AHBIC i.e. a member of the Queensland Beekeepers' Association. 

The QBA is consolidating expressions of interests from Queensland based beekeepers. If you would like to express your interest in supporting the response, please email your full name, email address and mobile contact number to: biosecurity@qbabees.org.au 

Once the QBA has received your EOI, you will receive a confirmation email including additional details and next steps. 

Social Media Updates
News and Updates

Please use the blog post below to access a time line of all communications relating to the varroa destructor detection and response. 

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  • 03 August 2022 9:30 PM | Anonymous

    Please find below the latest update to the NSW DPI Biosecurity (Varroa Mite) Emergency Order No.18 issued by the NSW Chief Plant Protection Officer. 

    Varroa Mite response Daily Update (NSW DPI Biosecurity Varroa Mite Update Wednesday 3rd August 2022 at 7.00PM

    Two new case​s of Varroa Mite ha​ve been detected at One Mile and Anna Bay in the Port Stephens LGA, within the existing eradication zone, ​increasing the total number of Infected Premises to 64.

    Due to the success of the surveillance in the outer regions there has been a greater focus over recent days in the ​eradication ​zone which has lead to the increase in number of Infected Premises.

    All confirmed cases so far either have clear links to existing cases or are geographically related.

    Beekeepers in the Surveillance zones should continue monitoring their hives for the presence of Varroa Mite and keep up to date with the latest information on the NSW DPI website Varroa Mite Emergency Response page www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

    New factsheets outlining how beekeepers in each of the zones can manage their hives and the restrictions that apply within each zone are now available from the NSW DPI website.

    Industry and community support continues to be critical in reducing the risk of any further spread of Varroa mite.
    If you detect Varroa mite notify the Exotic Plant and Pest hotline on 1800 084 881.
     

  • 01 August 2022 10:17 PM | Anonymous

    Please find below the latest update to the NSW DPI Biosecurity (Varroa Mite) Emergency Order No.17

    Biosecurity Varroa Mite Emergency Order No. 17.pdf

    Varroa Mite response Daily Update. (NSW DPI Biosecurity) 

    Varroa mite tracing and surveillance work has confirmed three new detections of Varroa mite, as field officers continue hive inspections with beekeepers across the state. All new infected hives fall within existing red zones.

    The two new detections near Salt Ash and another at Butterwick in the Port Stephens LGA brings the total number of infested premises to 59 since Varroa mite was first identified during routine surveillance at the Port of Newcastle on 22 June.

    The new infested hives fall within an existing red zone, but with a new biosecurity order being made, the eradication zone around the Butterwick detection will expand slightly to the west. Tracing is underway to confirm how these sites are linked to previous detections.

  • 01 August 2022 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    Update to the NSW DPI Biosecurity (Varroa Mite) Emergency Order NO.16

    Please find below the latest update to the NSW DPI Biosecurity Emergency order. 

    Please find below the update from NSW DPI published 29/07/2022 at 6.00PM.

    As expected, the number of infected premises within the existing red zone area has increased today, the count is now at 55. This is because they are often in close proximity to existing hives.

    The new detections have been identified within existing red eradication zones in the Hunter area.

    Work continues on euthanising infected hives within the existing red zones across the region.

    Reimbursement for registered recreational beekeepers in red eradication zones

    Recreational beekeepers affected by varroa mite will be reimbursed for the destruction of their hives and bees under the agreed National Response Plan.

    If you are a recreational beekeeper and your hives are to be euthanised within a red eradication zone, there are three options for reimbursement.

    • Destruction and disposal of bees and hive ware
    • Euthanised bee colony and keep hive ware
    • Euthanised nucleus hives

    Reimbursement amounts

    The amounts available for reimbursement are as follows:

    • Destruction and disposal of a fullsize hive - $550 dollars per single hive.
    • Keep hive ware - $200 per single hive.
    • Euthanised Nucleus hives - $200. (The beekeeper can opt to retain or have the nucleus hive ware destroyed and disposed of, the amount of reimbursement will be the same).

    Process

    An Authorised Officer will work closely with the registered recreational beekeeper, record details of the hives, taking photos and completing the necessary paperwork.

    Only registered recreational beekeepers will be eligible for the reimbursement package and DPI is working with beekeepers and industry to finalise the payment process.

    ---

    Updates for beekeepers within the red eradication zones

    A new Biosecurity Emergency Order has been issued to allow beekeepers in the red eradication zones to work their hives to prevent swarming, and also to remove honey in the 48- hours before their bees are euthanised.

    Preventing swarming in red zones

    Beekeepers may tamper with a hive to prevent swarming by placing an empty honey super on the hive and moving frames between the honey super on the hive.

    Beekeepers should immediately notify the NSW DPI if the person suspects the presence of Varroa mite in their hives, by calling the Exotic Plant Pests Hotline on 1800 084 881.

    Beekeepers may only transport an empty super for the purpose of managing swarming:

    • Directly to the premises from the enclosed space at which the empty super has been kept, without stopping at any other premises at which bees or hives are present.
    • By only carrying empty supers intended for hives at the premises, and no other empty supers.

    Once the empty honey super is placed on the hive, it must remain on the hive, and the person cannot harvest the honey or move the hive or any of the components of the hive.

    Harvesting honey from infected hives prior to euthanisation

    Beekeepers within the red eradication zones are permitted to remove honey from their infected hives, if they are to be euthanised in the following 48 hours.

    • Beekeepers must decontaminate all vehicles that will be used for transporting honey supers, before and after the move.
    • The honey super must be cleared of bees and sealed so no bees can enter.
    • The honey supers must be taken to an enclosed space for honey extraction.
    • Transportation can only take place within the eradication zone and by using the most direct route.
    • Beekeepers must not move any part of the brood box.
    • Honey must not be extracted until the honey super is stored in a bee proof manner for 21 days or at -20 degrees Celsius for 72 hours.

    Removal of honey from a flow hive

    If an Authorised Officer advises a person in charge of bees that the bees will be euthanised within 48 hours, the person may tamper with a flow hive to extract honey from the hive, via the tap that is part of the hive.

  • 01 August 2022 3:46 PM | Anonymous

    Please find attached below the latest varroa mite response operation update from AHBIC. The update was published yesterday (31st July 2022).

    Kind regards,

    Jo Martin 

    QBA State Secretary


  • 28 July 2022 7:14 AM | Anonymous

    AHBIC have made an additional call to action seeking volunteers to support the national response effort to contain and eradicate varroa. With the new detection near Coffs Harbour, we are supporting the effort to secure volunteers and putting our voice behind the new call out for volunteers. 

    In past weeks the QBA have sent in excess of 40 volunteers to support the program. The individuals volunteering have been a collection of QBA members (both recreational and commercial beekeepers) and members of our affiliate clubs. 

    We send our sincere thanks to our team from Queensland, who've been on site now for some time providing expert skill set and support. These individuals have put aside family, business and work to represent the industry in our hour of need and they now need their colleagues to step up. 

    We're now calling on all members of the QBA and our affiliate clubs to register their interest to support the program. We have one chance at eradication and we need you on board.

    The online registration form has been updated to include a few new fields of information that will support the coordination team to connect skill set and experience with the onsite work demands. 

    By completing the online registration form (attached below), your information will be added to the call up list. You will be contacted by the response control centre and provided with an offer to volunteer. In additional, your travel arrangements, accommodation and meal requirements will be confirmed once you've been contacted by the response team. 

    We appreciate everyone is busy given the time of the year, but again we have one chance at varroa. 

    Take action today and add your name to the list. 

    Kind regards,

    Jo Martin 

    QBA State Secretary



  • 25 July 2022 9:02 PM | Anonymous

    Please find below today's update published from NSW DPI Biosecurity just moments ago. This information was taken directly from the NSW DPI Biosecurity Facebook page (25/07/2022 at 9.00pm)

    NSW DPI Varroa mite tracing and surveillance work has confirmed one new detection of Varroa mite, as field officers continue hive inspections with beekeepers across the state.

    The new detection is near Nana Glen, north-west of Coffs Harbour and brings the total number of infested premises to 43.

    The new infested hives where the Varroa mite was detected falls outside of existing emergency zones. NSW DPI has established emergency zones around the infested premises.

    Our tracing efforts discovered this infested premises near Nana Glen, where infested hives were moved in earlier this year, prior to our Biosecurity Emergency Order was in place. This is connected to one of our existing infested premises in the Hunter cluster.

    As an industry group, our intensive surveillance and tracing activities, in addition to the state-wide lockdown and creation of emergency zones, continue to play a critical role in emergency response efforts.

    Visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa and use the interactive map to search for your address, to determine what emergency zone you’re situated in.

     What should I do? 

    - All beekeepers responsible for honeybee colonies or hives within 50km biosecurity zones are either in the Notification zone, Eradication or Surveillance zones.

    -In those zones, beekeepers must tell NSW DPI where their honeybees and hives are. This includes queen honeybees in cages and packaged honeybees.

    You can notify NSW DPI:

    - to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881

    - by using the online form at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

    If anyone in NSW has found Varroa mite, they must tell NSW DPI immediately.

    Kind regards,

    Jo Martin 

    QBA State Secretary


  • 25 July 2022 8:54 PM | Anonymous

    Please find the latest update to the NSW DPI Biosecurity (Varroa Mite) Emergency Order No.15 issued by the Chief Plant Protection Officer of NSW below.

    I have taken the liberty of attaching the new and updated varroa mite map to the bottom of this email. If you would like to view the interactive map, please click on the link here

    Kind regards,

    Jo Martin 

    QBA State Secretary


  • 20 July 2022 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    Please find the following update from the NSW DPI Biosecurity team relating to the new movement arrangements for commercial beekeepers with hives in NSW. The information below was taken directly from the NSW DPI website earlier today (20/07/2022). 

    Registered commercial beekeepers can submit a Hive Movement Declaration to move their honeybees and hives, provided they are located outside of the eradication, surveillance and notification zones (red, purple and yellow zones as shown on the DPI website).

    The plan has been carefully developed through a risk-based approach to enable business continuity and critical pollination services for registered commercial beekeepers in certain parts of NSW.

    NSW DPI has worked in consultation with the apiary and horticultural industries in NSW to develop this approach.

    The Biosecurity Emergency Group Permit (PDF, 180.15 KB) makes allowance for some registered commercial beekeepers to move hives in low risk areas of NSW, while the standstill of movement of beehives remains in place as per the current Biosecurity (Varroa Mite) Emergency Order 2022.

    View more on the Hive Movement Declaration page.

    Kind regards,

    Jo Martin 

    QBA State Secretary


  • 20 July 2022 2:06 PM | Anonymous

    As a result of the launch of the Bee 123 varroa mite surveillance reporting software, we are putting another call out to all QBA members and members of affiliate clubs to commence varroa mite surveillance activities immediately, and report the activities you've completed (regardless of the result) to the Bee 123 app or online via the following link:

    The Bee 123 program is a critical mechanism that will assist in our preparedness efforts for varroa mite. 

    We also ask if you have completed mite surveillance activities since the detection of varroa destructor in the Port of Newcastle, the results of your activities should be reported to the Bee 123 portal. 

    Reporting your findings takes just a few moments. I have attached the Bee 123 announcement and fact sheet (sent to members last week) to support our members to fulfil this request from the QBA. The fact sheet supports you in a step by step process to set up the app with ease.

    The QBA executive team have also produced a limited number of alcohol wash kits for QBA members. The alcohol wash kits were distributed to the 5 QBA branches last week. We strongly recommend QBA members make contact with their branch executive to arrange collection of a kit. 

    The varroa mite detection in Newcastle and subsequent response effort is the 'when' industry has been inevitably waiting and preparing for. Conducting varroa mite surveillance today is the activity you can complete now, to play your role in the national fight to contain and eradicate varroa. 

    Please support the significant effort from the QBA, our team on the ground in the biosecurity zones and the efforts of DAF and Biosecurity Queensland to protect and support the future of beekeeping in Queensland.

    You are a critical member of the team, its now time to take the field. 

    Kind regards,

    Jo Martin 

    QBA State Secretary


  • 18 July 2022 11:01 AM | Anonymous

    Please find below, the updated NSW DPI Biosecurity (Varroa Mite) Emergency Order No.14 issued by the Deputy Plant Protection Officer of NSW. 

    I have taken the following update (posted yesterday evening 17/07/2022) from the NSW DPI website. 

    A new Biosecurity Order has been made available, including one new infested premises detected. The infested premises is located east of Singleton, within the existing Hunter area emergency zones.

    The order includes the following changes:

    • the Varroa Mite Response map has been updated online at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa
    • the definition of rendered wax has been updated to exclude straining. Commercially, the process may not include straining.  As varroa mites will not survive in temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius and wax melts between 62.5 and 65 degrees Celsius, the rendering process kills varroa mites. Consequently, there is no biosecurity risk posed by rendered beeswax.

    Industry and DPI working together

    DPI continues to work closely with industry representatives in response the Varroa mite emergency in the Hunter area.

    DPI and industry representatives want to assure both commercial and recreational beekeepers that their concerns are being heard and addressed as surveillance continues as a priority across the Hunter.  DPI and NSW bee industry representatives continue to work together during this emergency response.

    Preparing for NSW registered commercial beekeepers to move hives

    As included in this newsletter yesterday, later this week registered commercial beekeepers will be able to apply to move hives enabling business continuity for the honeybee industry and support for crops that require pollination services.

    The registered commercial beekeepers must be located within NSW outside of the eradication, surveillance or notification zones (red, purple and yellow zones).

    Beekeepers can start to prepare by:

    • Alcohol washing a proportion of their hives and recording the results to prove they are free from Varroa mite.
    • Checking their records are up to date and that none of their hives have been in an eradication, notification or surveillance zone within the past 24 months.

    The number of hives that need to be sampled with an alcohol wash will depend on how many hives are to be moved

    • Less than 640 hives requires 64 hives to be sampled
    • 640 hives or more require 10% of the hives being moving to be sampled.

    More information on the permit, including answers to frequently asked questions will be provided through the week.

    As a final note, I have placed the updated NSW DPI Varroa Mite map at the bottom of this email. Should you wish to access the interactive version of the online map, please click here. 

    Kind regards,

    Jo Martin 

    QBA State Secretary


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Useful Resources

Educational Information for all Beekeepers

Use the BeeAware website for educational information on varroa.

Use the Professional Beekeepers website for articles on varroa.

Varroa mite educational videos

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