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.
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.
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.
Varroa infects honey bees in every major beekeeping area of the world, except Australia.
All beekeepers in NSW are required to complete hive testing (alcohol washing, soapy water wash, sugar shake or miticide strip and sticky mat) every 16 weeks and report any positive results to NSW DPI on the day of testing. Negative results must also be reported to NSW DPI, within 7 days.
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Where mites are detected above the threshold levels, hives must be treated according to approved protocols.
Positive surveillance results must be reported to NSW DPI by online form, calling 1800 084 881 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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No, varroa mites affect honey bees, they do not affect native bees.
For more information, see the varroa mite primefact.