Statewide emergency order issued for varroa mite in NSW
A statewide emergency order has been issued to control the movement of bees across NSW and stop the spread of varroa mite.
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders says the order has taken effect from 6.00 o’clock tonight.
“After the first detection of varroa mite at the Port of Newcastle on Friday, DPI is investigating potentially contaminated hives outside the initial 50 kilometre biosecurity zone,” Mr Saunders said.
“That includes a property near Trangie in central west NSW, where containment and control activities will be carried out tomorrow.
“If varroa mite settles in the state, it will have severe consequences, so we’re taking every precaution and action needed to contain the parasite and protect the local honey industry and pollination.”
The statewide order is a fourth tier general emergency zone that has been added to the existing zones, in which no bees are allowed to be moved across NSW.
A 50km biosecurity zone is still in place around the port of Newcastle and beekeepers within that area must also notify the NSW Department of Primary Industries of the locations of their hives.
A 25km surveillance zone is also still active around the site, where officials are monitoring and inspecting managed and feral honey bees to limit the extent of the incursion.
A 10km emergency zone around the Port remains in place, where eradication plans will be enacted to treat hives, including at a new fourth property that has been identified.
“Australia is the only major honey producing country free from varroa mite, the most serious pest to honey bees worldwide,” Mr Saunders said.
“We’re working with apiary industry bodies and stakeholders to ensure beekeepers are well informed and can continue to help us with this critical response”.
The mites are tiny reddish-brown parasites and are easily identifiable to the naked eye.