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20 Dec 2022
Efforts to keep NSW Varroa mite free continue to move into the next phase in the Newcastle region, with the program to euthanise wild European honey bees in the eradication emergency (red) zone.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Chief Plant Protection Officer Dr Satendra Kumar said as NSW DPI continues efforts to remove wild European honey bees from the eradication emergency (red) zone, the program is now set to begin in Newcastle.
“Wild European honey bees, which are the same species as honeybees kept in managed hives, build their nests in tree hollows and other enclosed spaces,” said Dr Kumar.
“Removing these bees from the environment of eradication emergency (red) zones is necessary to reduce any chance of the Varroa mite parasite existing undetected within wild hives, and is an important part of the national Varroa mite response plan.”
Dr Kumar said the baiting program has been developed to include strict guidelines to protect and ensure the safety of all people, animals, livestock and the local environment.
“NSW DPI has been authorised by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to use fipronil to remove wild European honey bees.
“The wild European honey bee feeder stations are designed to exclude other animals and insects, and to prevent contamination of soil and water.
“Feeder stations will remain in place for up to 12 months, but only in active use with insecticide for very short periods of time, to a maximum of 3 hours each session.
“During active use, feeder stations will be monitored by trained staff, to minimise the risk of off-target impacts. Experience to date has shown zero feeding in stations by off target species.
"Feeder stations are placed at least 2 kilometres away from the edges of the red eradication emergency zones to reduce the risk of European honey bees from outside the eradication zone interacting with the feeder stations.”
Beekeepers in eradication emergency (red) zones whose hives have been euthanised continue to be eligible for compensation.
Commercial registered beekeepers in the purple surveillance emergency zone are also now eligible for reimbursement.
“In line with the program guidelines set by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, only registered beekeepers will be eligible for reimbursement, so I strongly encourage any beekeepers in those zones to make sure they’re a registered beekeeper in NSW,” Dr Kumar said.
More information on the NSW DPI Varroa mite emergency response can be found at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa.
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