New poster to help identify varroa mite in bees

The varroa mite poster.
The varroa mite poster.

TO help beekeepers identify one of the greatest threats, the Varroa mite, a poster has been sent to all registered beekeepers across the country in a mailout that also contains a manual on how best to look after the health of their hives.

Chairman of the Pollination Program R&D Advisory Committee, Gerald Martin, said it was vital to identify and report Varroa mite immediately, as it had the potential to devastate the industry.

"Approximately 65% of horticultural and agricultural crops produced in Australia require pollination services from honey bees," he said.

"While we're lucky to have a huge population of escaped European honey bees which currently provide these services free, that could end abruptly if Varroa arrives.

"When the first mites were reported in New Zealand, it was estimated they'd been there for up to three years, so there was little chance of eradicating them. We don't want that to happen here, and every beekeeper needs to play their part.

"If Varroa reaches Australian shores and become entrenched it's expected to cost $72.3 million a year over 30 years ," Mr Martin said.

Any sightings of Varroa or other pests and diseases should be immediately reported to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline - 1800 084 881. This is a free call from anywhere in Australia.

"Regular inspections are a key part of maintain hive health, and with early detection and good management, Australia's honey and pollination industries can continue to prosper," Mr Martin said.

"Even if mites are not visible there are signs to be aware of, and the poster outlines these in detail."

Beekeepers in NSW and the ACT who haven't received a copy of the poster and manual can contact their local apiary officer or association:

  • Dr Doug Somerville (Goulburn) (02) 4828 6619
  • Nick Annand (Bathurst) (02) 6330 1210
  • Beekeepers Association of the ACT (ACT) 02 6282 8112

Topics:  pollination

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