New varroa mite detections will result in the destruction of hundreds of beehives

Another 650 beehives in NSW will be destroyed after the varroa Mite, which is a killer for the European honeybee, was discovered outside of an eradication area in the Hunter Valley.

In a major blow to the apiary industry, the mite has been discovered in hives at a property in Quorrobolong, near Cessnock, beyond an area designated as a “red zone” by the state’s biosecurity authorities.

Victoria faces a shortage of beehives because beekeepers were banned from importing hives from NSW as a result of the varroa mite epidemic.Credit:Simon Schluter

In June, the parasite was first discovered in surveillance hives in Newcastle.

The Varroa destructor European honey bees are susceptible to being entrapped by other bees. This can affect their ability to fly and gather food as well as their ability to emerge from their cells. The honeybee is an important part of large-scale agricultural production Pollination Services and supplies honey and beeswax to domestic and international markets. The varroa mite is not a major pest in Australia.

In June, a eradication zone was established with over 95% of the hives (roughly 16,800) being destroyed. The eradication zone has been extended by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), to 10 km after the latest detection.

According to a spokesperson for Agriculture Minister Duguld Sauders, the red zone now covers 80 additional sites and 650 additional hives.

There is a general freeze on bees and their equipment.

“The detection was kind of just outside an existing red zone so it pushes that zone out by another 10 kilometres,” DPI spokesman Mark O’Brien said. “But it’s obviously significant in the context of the response.”


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