Varroa mite compensation for beekeepers

9 Jul 2022

An $18 million compensation package has been developed for registered beekeepers affected by the varroa mite outbreak, under an agreement reached by governments and industry.

The National Management Group (NMG) for Emergency Plant Pests has endorsed a National Response Plan to eradicate Varroa Destructor from NSW. The NMG comprises Commonwealth and State governments and pollination dependent industries and the honey bee industry.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said the agreement will see registered commercial beekeepers reimbursed for all equipment, hives and bees that are destroyed in the eradication process, as well as the costs of honey.

“We are firmly committed to the national response plan,” Minister Watt said.

“Varroa mite is the most significant threat to our honey bee and pollination industries and we unanimously agree that it is both technically feasible and economically beneficial to remove it from our shores.”

NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders said eradication is the primary goal, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ strong initial response measures and contact tracing work have made this possible.

“We still have an unbroken chain of infected premises and have extensive surveillance operations in place to find and destroy any further cases,” Mr Saunders said.

“I want to thank the entire beekeeping community for their commitment and vigilance during this time.”

Danny Le Feuvre from the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council said it was great to see the recognition from all governments and industries of the importance of the bee industry.

“Industry fully supports the eradication efforts and appreciates the professionalism and commitment of DPI’s incident management team,” Mr Le Feuvre said.

“Agreement to provide reimbursement costs to our members will ensure the success of the eradication program.

“The approval of the plan and funding demonstrates the importance of the partnership between pollination dependent industries, the honey bee industry and the government.”

The National Management Group also endorsed compensation for licensed recreational beekeepers in recognition of their critical role in the response to this incursion.

The NSW Government is putting on an additional 26 compliance and surveillance officers to manage risk to facilitate key pollination events and ensure business continuity.

Further reading

Media contact: Tali Eley for Minister Watt 0448 078 456, Sally Taylor for Minister Saunders 0428 149 401