18 Feb 2023
NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) surveillance and tracing work has confirmed new detections of Varroa mite in beehives at two locations near Taree.
NSW DPI Chief Plant Protection Officer Satendra Kumar said both sites were clearly linked to known properties in current eradication zones through the illegal movement of beehives.
“These detections have resulted from careful tracing and surveillance of hives in the declared eradication zones and show that our approach is working,” Dr Kumar said.
“Interviews with beekeepers in the restricted zones near Millfield and Wyong revealed the movement of hives from those sites into the Taree area.
“NSW DPI is investigating the circumstances surrounding the movement of hives to both sites. Penalties for illegally moving hives can be up to $1.1 million or imprisonment for 3 years for individuals and $2.2 million for corporations.”
Testing at the two sites at Taree and Wherrol Flat confirmed the presence of Varroa mite in a small number of hives which were moved into the region in December.
Urgent tracing has ruled out further movement of hives off the Taree site and is underway in relation to the Wherrol Flat site.
Tracing has also identified 4 movements of beehives from the surrounding areas since December to other locations in the state, but these are considered low-risk given the distance of those hives from the two infected sites.
Dr Kumar said NSW DPI would issue individual biosecurity directions to prevent the further movement of beehives in those 4 cases as a precaution until testing can confirm they are free of Varroa mite.
“While this is the first detection outside of a restricted zone for some time, the clear link between the point of origin and the Taree sites gives us confidence that our tracing and surveillance approach continues to be effective,” Dr Kumar said.
“The critical task now for beekeepers is to report any hives they have in the Taree zones, and any hives they have moved through those areas since December so that we can test those hives and confirm these are isolated cases.”
Beekeepers who have hives in the Taree area, or who have moved hives through that area since December last year, are reminded:
Hive locations and alcohol wash results can be reported to DPI by filling out the online forms at dpi.nsw.gov.au or calling 1800 084 881:
Two additional infestation sites near Millfield were also identified in the surveillance zone near Millfield.
The new cases bring the total number of infected premises to 118 since Varroa mite was first identified at the Port of Newcastle in June 2022.
For more information visit: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa
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