Reminder to watch out for varroa mite

Picture of bees
Picture of bees

The Tasmanian Government is urging local beekeepers to remain vigilant for signs of varroa mite following recent detections of the pest in New South Wales.

Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) is the most serious pest affecting honeybees worldwide.

While an incursion is being managed in NSW, varroa mite is not established in Australia and it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure we remain free of this devastating pest.

Bees play a vital role in maintaining Tasmania’s unique environment and are the primary pollinator for our fruit and vegetable sectors, meaning an outbreak would be catastrophic for our environment and agricultural industry.

That is why it is important that queen bees, hive material and products are not imported from NSW, as doing so puts both our environment and economy at serious risk.

Through Biosecurity Tasmania, the Government has increased surveillance and inspection activities at Tasmania’s points of entry and has put in place an Emergency Biosecurity Direction to further prevent the introduction of this honeybee parasite into Tasmania.

This prohibits the import into Tasmania of any European honeybees – including queen bees – and various apiary products – including used beekeeping equipment – into Tasmania.

We understand that a potential longer-term restriction on queen bee importation will impact Tasmanian businesses for the upcoming season and NRE Tas will work closely with the Tasmanian industry to ensure alternative options are explored.

Biosecurity Tasmania, and our network of volunteers, are continuing to regularly monitor our surveillance hives at the ports of Hobart, Bell Bay, Devonport and Burnie as part of the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program.

In addition, Biosecurity Tasmania has this week commenced a program of additional hive surveillance across the State.

Varroa mites are a notifiable pest, which means if you suspect you have found signs of varroa mite in your hives, you must report it immediately by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Here in Tasmania, we all have a role to play in protecting our unique environment and primary industries against biosecurity risks and I thank Tasmanians for their ongoing vigilance to keep our State safe.

For more information on Varroa mite or the General Biosecurity Duty visit, nre.tas.gov.au/biosecurity-tasmania

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