Red zone expanded due to new Varroa detections

1 Aug 2022

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) 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.

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.

NSW DPI Chief Plant Protection Officer Satendra Kumar said 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.

“NSW DPI has put significant measures in place to arrest the spread of the threat any further and has been working with apiary industry bodies and stakeholders to ensure all 13,000 registered commercial and recreational beekeepers in the State are up to date with the latest information,” Mr Kumar said.

“We are continuing to work closely with the apiary and horticultural industries to ensure beekeepers are able to manage their hives to prevent swarming as the weather warms up and that they can safely move hives for pollination.

“It’s critical that we take every precaution to ensure the threat is contained, but it’s also vital that the industry is able to safely continue operations where possible so that beekeepers and producers can maintain their businesses.”

Australia is the only major honey producing country free from varroa mite, the most serious pest of honeybees worldwide.

Beekeepers work side-by-side with government as part of Australia’s early warning system to detect exotic honeybee pests, the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program, which includes surveillance hives and catch boxes at strategic locations around our ports and airports.

More information is available from NSW DPI:

Media contact:  DPI media 02 6391 3686 or

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