Varroa Mite

What is it?

Varroa mites (Varroa jacobsoni) 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

Although there is a combined government and industry effort to keep them out of the country, it is generally accepted that it is inevitable that varroa mites will eventually establish in 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, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881 immediately.

More information

For more information, visit the varroa mite primefact.