Beekeepers reminded of mandatory hive surveillance requirements for Varroa mite response

4 Jan 2023

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is reminding all beekeepers across the State to carry out mandatory surveillance on their hives as part of the effort to eradicate Varroa mite.

The provision, which was introduced under the Emergency Order in September, requires beekeepers to conduct alcohol washes at least every 16 weeks and report the results to DPI.

Varroa mite Emergency Response Coordinator Chris Anderson said the beekeeping community has shown strong support for eradication, after Varroa mite was detected in sentinel hives near the Port of Newcastle in June.

“Surveillance is a critical part of the effort required to achieve the goal of eradicating the mite and we need beekeepers to work with us to establish the base of data needed to maintain confidence in containment,” said Mr Anderson.

“The requirement for beekeepers to carry out alcohol wash surveillance on their hives at least three times a year, no more than 16 weeks apart was introduced alongside other measures that provided more flexibility for essential beekeeping operations to continue.”

“That data, along with our surveillance operations, is vital to the response because even negative results will help us to establish a more comprehensive picture of the situation.”

“It is the responsibility of beekeepers to ensure they are aware of and are meeting their requirements under the Emergency Order as non-compliance can result in significant penalties and fines,” Mr Anderson said.

Due to the measure being introduced in September 2022, all beekeepers should have completed the alcohol wash process at least once by mid-January.

Beekeepers can report results of alcohol washes to DPI by calling 1800 084 881 or via the online form at

The DPI response team has tested close to 12,000 hives in the surveillance purple zone and more than 30,000 hives state-wide to date, in addition to around 85,000 alcohol wash results reported from beekeepers, many as part of the requirements of hive movement declarations. It is estimated that there are more than 380,000 registered hives currently in NSW.

For more information about the Varroa mite response visit

Media contact: Public Information Officer 0438 097 278