Varroa Mite

What is Varroa mite?

Varroa mites (Varroa jacobsoni and V. destructor) are the most serious pest of honey bees worldwide. The mites are tiny reddish brown external parasites of honey bees.

How is it characterised?

On their own, individual mites are easily identifiable to the naked eye.  Left untreated varroa mite will kill any bee hive it infects. All feral and untreated bee colonies will eventually die.

How is it spread?

Drone bees are able to move varroa mites from hive to hive and even between apiaries. Mites are agile, move into hives quickly and transfer through contact between bees. There are strict quarantine requirements in place to protect the Australian honey bee industry.

Where is it found?

Varroa infects honey bees in every major beekeeping area of the world, except Australia.

What is the potential cost to Australia?

It is estimated that varroa mite could result in losses of $70 million a year should it become established in Australia.

How is it treated?

Beekeepers are encouraged to inspect their hives regularly for signs of varroa mites.

How do I report it?

If you see anything suspicious use the online form at, send an email to or call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881.

Are you an unregistered beekeeper?

You can register now here

Do you want to report your hive locations to help protect the NSW honey industry?

You can use this form before you register and let us know where your hives are located. There are no repercussions for not being registered.

Do I have to report my native beehives?

No, people and organisations with native beehives do not need to report them.

Do varroa mites affect native bees?

No, varroa mites affect honey bees, they do not affect native bees.

More information about Varroa mite

For more information, see the varroa mite primefact.

Media release: Varroa mite incursion detected (24 June 2022)

Media release: Statewide Emergency Order issued for Varroa mite in NSW (26 June 2022)