Special permit extended for flood-impacted beekeepers

9 Jul 2022

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) has issued a 7-day extension, to permit the movement of honeybee hives to higher grounds, as a result of the extensive flooding and severe weather that has hit NSW.

A state-wide emergency order was put in place to control the movement of bees across NSW and stop the spread of Varroa mite, after it was first identified during routine surveillance at the Port of Newcastle on Wednesday 22 June.

NSW DPI, Acting Chief Plant Protection Officer, Chris Anderson, said the permit has been extended, until midnight on Sunday, 17 July 2022, for honeybee hives that are in a flood watch or flood warning area.

“NSW DPI is confident that the eradication of Varroa mite is both technically feasible and economically beneficial,” Mr Anderson said.

“We remain committed to working with industry to undertake extensive surveillance to find and destroy any further infested honeybees.

“NSW DPI is not concerned about Varroa mite spreading through flood waters; however, the severe weather is impacting the ability of our field crews to access some locations where hives are located.

“That’s why, we are permitting beekeepers, whose honeybee hives may be submerged by flood water caused by heavy rainfall, to move them.”

A beekeeper in a flood watch or flood warning area must not transport honeybee hives out of or through another emergency zone at any time and after the hives have been moved to high grounds under this Permit, they cannot be moved back to the original location.

NSW DPI confirmed two new detections of Varroa mite. The new detections at Wyong and Jerrys Plains bring the total number of infested premises to 36.

NSW DPI has established emergency zones around the infested premises and has put significant measures in place to eradicate Varroa mite in NSW.

As per the agreed response plan with industry, NSW DPI has commenced euthanising all honeybee hives within existing emergency zones and so far, 2,230 have been euthanised.

“Unfortunately, it is necessary to euthanise honeybee colonies in the eradication zones and destroy equipment such as brood and honey frames,” Mr Anderson said.

“We cannot underestimate the importance of community reporting as an invaluable component of our control measures. I encourage people to report wild hives or abandoned hives.

“NSW DPI also continues to ask people who have acquired honeybees (including queen bees, nucleus hives and hives with honeybees) from within an emergency zone to report them to help ensure business continuity for the bee industry.”

Beekeepers are encouraged to undertake an Alcohol wash and report results to the DPI by calling 1800 084 881.

NSW DPI’s efforts to arrest the Varroa mite spread are being assisted by the apiary industry, Local Land Services, NSW Police, NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and the wider community.

Further Information: 

More information is available from NSW DPI: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

Notification of any change in location must be reported to the Beekeeper Notification – Varroa mite online form at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 (9 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week).

Media contact: DPI media 6391 3686 or Varroa mite media email: media.liaison.2.scc1e7@emergency.dpi.nsw.gov.au