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.

How is it detected?

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.

Report your surveillance results here

How is it treated?

Where mites are detected above the threshold levels, hives must be treated according to approved protocols.

Primefact Varroa mite management options in NSW

How do I report it?

Positive surveillance results must be reported to NSW DPI by online form, calling 1800 084 881 or emailing

Are you an unregistered beekeeper?

You can register now here

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.