Varroa mite emergency response

NSW DPI has detected Varroa mite, which was confirmed as Varroa destructor, in biosecurity surveillance hives at the Port of Newcastle. NSW DPI is working to protect the NSW honeybee industry by ensuring we eradicate the parasite.

All beekeepers within the eradication and surveillance zones must report their hives, preferably online by completing the Beekeeper Notifications - Varroa mite online form

  • If you detect Varroa mite, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline to report your detection on 1800 084 881 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).

The Varroa Emergency Response Hotline, accessed via the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881, is operational Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm. For urgent matters outside of these hours you can call the hotline number for instructions on accessing the on-call function for the Varroa Emergency Response Hotline.


What to do if you see a swarm

Warm weather brings an increase in bee activity and swarming.

How to deal with a swarm

Reimbursement available in red and purple zones

The program aims to reimburse eligible registered beekeepers for hives affected by biosecurity operations to control the declared Varroa mite biosecurity emergency.

Read more on reimbursement

Check the frequently asked questions

Our FAQs are updated regularly as the response continues.

Hive Movement Declaration open for registered beekeepers

Registered beekeepers are required to submit a Hive Movement Declaration to move their honeybees and hives in low risk areas of the State.

Hive Movement Declaration

What beekeepers should do

  • Check the latest update, and use the online map to determine whether you are in a biosecurity zone.
  • All beekeepers within the eradication and surveillance zones need to report your hive, preferably online by completing the Beekeeper Notifications - Varroa mite online form
  • If you detect Varroa mite, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline to report your detection on 1800 084 881 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).
  • All registered beekeepers are required to conduct three alcohol washes a year, at least one every 16 weeks to help facilitate surveillance across the State and ensure our industry remains viable and healthy.
  • Beekeepers must report results of alcohol washes to NSW DPI by calling 1800 084 881 or by filling in the form at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/alcohol-wash.

Wild European Honey Bee Management (WEHBM) Program

Following on from the euthanasia and destruction of recreational and commercially managed hives within the red eradication emergency zone, the next phase in the eradication of Varroa mite includes the complete removal of wild European honey bees from the zone.

Your wellbeing

Read our Assistance Guide for Beekeepers PDF, 231.53 KB for various assistance services available to impacted beekeepers to support them through the emergency response.

There are free and confidential support services available to all beekeepers during this difficult time and we encourage beekeepers to access small business and mental health and wellbeing support early.

Small business support is available to beekeepers through:

The Varroa mite emergency response may impact people’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

Stressful events can cause feelings of worry and unease, especially where there are levels of uncertainty involved, but there are things you can do to take care of yourself.

In tough times we need to remember to look after ourselves. As much as possible, maintaining routines with good diet, exercise, and sleep will increase your capacity to deal with stress.

This is the time to stay connected with family and friends and seek for support when you need it.

Mental health support is available from:

Latest updates

For previous updates, visit the archive page.

Surveillance of hives in the purple zone has identified 1 new infested premises, bringing the total infested premises to 107. 

The new case at properties in Vacy, in the Hunter is outside the eradication (red) zones, meaning the current eradication zone will be expanded to cover these infected premises and a new biosecurity order has been made. The emergency zone map can be found here https://fal.cn/3tZNq

Response staff have carried out surveillance on almost 12,000 hives in the purple zone, and more than 30,000 hives state-wide. 

Furthermore, beekeepers have tested over 85,000 hives through the approved hive movement program in the General Emergency Zone and all beekeepers are now required to carry out mandatory alcohol wash surveillance at least every 16 weeks. Beekeepers need to report alcohol wash results here: https://fal.cn/3tZNp

The purple zone is there to delimit the spread of the Varroa mite from the infested sites and NSW DPI remains confident in containment.

🐝Varroa mite emergency response daily update 🐝

🐝There is a total of 106 IP’s

🐝For beekeepers who now find themselves in a new red or purple zone, find answers to your questions at our FAQ https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/emergencies/biosecurity/current-situation/varroa-mite-emergency-response/varroa-frequently-asked-questions

🐝Baiting of wild European honey bees underway in Denman, Calga, Somersby, Wyong and Narrabri. First round of baiting has been completed in Nana Glen and Jerrys Plains.  Plans for other areas of the eradication zone are underway.

🐝The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Varroa mite emergency response is reminding all beekeepers in the eradication or red zones that they must not keep bees until advised, likely a number of years.

🐝Don’t forget to report the results of your alcohol washes at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/alcohol-wash.

🐝NSW DPI is receiving a high volume of calls about swarming. If you have questions about what to do, or how to report a swam, please visit our guide at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

For more information on the Varroa mite response visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa or call the hotline on 1800 084 881.

Surveillance of hives in the purple zone has identified 2 new infested premises, bringing the total infested premises to 106. 

The new cases are at properties in Tumbi Umbi on the Central Coast, and Mulbring in the Hunter. Both are outside the eradication (red) zones, meaning the current eradication zone will be expanded to cover these infected premises and a new biosecurity order has been made. The emergency zone map can be found here: dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

Response staff have carried out surveillance on over 10,000 hives in the purple zone, and almost 30,000 hives state-wide. 

Furthermore, beekeepers have tested over 85,000 hives through the approved hive movement program in the General Emergency Zone and all beekeepers are now required to carry out mandatory alcohol wash surveillance at least every 16 weeks. Beekeepers need to report alcohol wash results here: Alcohol  wash report

The purple zone is there to delimit the spread of the Varroa mite from the infested sites and NSW DPI remains confident in containment.

🐝Varroa mite emergency response daily update 🐝

🐝There is a total of 104 IP’s

🐝For beekeepers who now find themselves in a new red or purple zone, find answers to your questions at our FAQ https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/emergencies/biosecurity/current-situation/varroa-mite-emergency-response/varroa-frequently-asked-questions

🐝Baiting of wild European honey bees underway in Denman. First round of baiting has been completed in Nana Glen and Jerrys Plains.  Baiting will soon commence in the Calga, Sommersby, Wyong and Narrabri areas.

🐝The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Varroa mite emergency response is reminding all beekeepers in the eradication or red zones that they must not keep bees until advised, likely a number of years.

🐝Don’t forget to report the results of your alcohol washes at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/alcohol-wash.

🐝NSW DPI is receiving a high volume of calls about swarming. If you have questions about what to do, or how to report a swam, please visit our guide at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

For more information on the Varroa mite response visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa or call the hotline on 1800 084 881.

Surveillance of hives in the purple zone has identified 1 new infested premise, bringing the total infested premises to 104.

The new case is at a property near Lochinvar, between the Stanhope and Maitland eradication (red) zones, meaning the current eradication zone will be expanded to cover this infected premises and a new biosecurity order has been made. The emergency zone map can be found here https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/emergencies/biosecurity/current-situation/varroa-mite-emergency-response

Response staff have carried out surveillance on over 10,000 hives in the purple zone, and almost 30,000 hives state-wide.

Furthermore, beekeepers have tested over 85,000 hives through the approved hive movement program in the General Emergency Zone and all beekeepers are now required to carry out mandatory alcohol wash surveillance at least every 16 weeks. You can report alcohol wash results here: https://forms.bfs.dpi.nsw.gov.au/forms/13537

The purple zone is there to delimit the spread of the Varroa mite from the infested sites and NSW DPI remains confident in containment.

Surveillance of hives in the purple zone has identified 1 new infested premise, bringing the total infested premises to 103.

NSW DPI have confirmed the new IP is linked to an existing case in the red zone.

A new Emergency Order has been issued and the zone map updated on the DPI website.

This detection demonstrates the importance of the continued surveillance efforts in the purple zone and the importance of industry cooperation with surveillance operations, including beekeepers ensuring they report results of mandatory 16-week alcohol washes to NSW DPI.

Report alcohol wash results at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/alcohol-wash

🐝Varroa mite emergency response daily update 🐝

🐝There is a total of 102 IP’s, with all confirmed cases either having links to existing cases or geographically related.

🐝More than 97% of reported managed hives in the eradication emergency zone areas have been euthanised.

🐝Baiting of wild European honey bees has commenced in Nana Glen and Denman. The first round of baiting at Jerrys Plains has been completed.

🐝Don’t forget to report the results of your alcohol washes at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/alcohol-wash.

🐝Beekeepers who have hives at risk of inundation in areas described by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) as under a current flood warning can move their hives to high ground under a current Emergency Group Permit. Under the permit hives can be moved to a location at a higher elevation at the same premises.

Notify DPI of the movement by completing the online form or by calling 1800 084 881.

🐝NSW DPI is receiving a high volume of calls about swarming. If you have questions about what to do, or how to report a swam, please visit our guide at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

For more information on the Varroa mite response visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa or call the hotline on 1800 084 881.

🐝Varroa mite emergency response daily update 🐝

🐝There is a total of 102 IP’s, with all confirmed cases either having links to existing cases or geographically related.

🐝More than 97% of reported managed hives in the eradication emergency zone areas have been euthanised.

🐝Baiting of wild European honey bees has commenced in Nana Glen and Denman. The first round of baiting at Jerrys Plains has been completed.

🐝Don’t forget to report the results of your alcohol washes at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/alcohol-wash.

🐝Beekeepers who have hives at risk of inundation in areas described by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) as under a current flood warning can move their hives to high ground under a current Emergency Group Permit. Under the permit hives can be moved to a location at a higher elevation at the same premises.

Notify DPI of the movement by completing the online form or by calling 1800 084 881.

🐝NSW DPI is receiving a high volume of calls about swarming. If you have questions about what to do, or how to report a swam, please visit our guide at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

For more information on the Varroa mite response visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa or call the hotline on 1800 084 881.

🐝Varroa mite emergency response daily update 🐝

🐝There is a total of 102 IP’s, with all confirmed cases either having links to existing cases or geographically related.

🐝More than 96% of reported managed hives in the eradication emergency zone areas have been euthanised.

🐝Baiting of wild European honey bees has commenced in Nana Glen and Denman. The first round of baiting at Jerrys Plains has been completed.

🐝Don’t forget to report the results of your alcohol washes at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/alcohol-wash.

🐝Beekeepers who have hives at risk of inundation in areas described by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) as under a current flood warning can move their hives to high ground under a current Emergency Group Permit. Under the permit hives can be moved to a location at a higher elevation at the same premises.

Notify DPI of the movement by completing the online form or by calling 1800 084 881.

🐝NSW DPI is receiving a high volume of calls about swarming. If you have questions about what to do, or how to report a swam, please visit our guide at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

For more information on the Varroa mite response visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa or call the hotline on 1800 084 881.

🐝Varroa mite emergency response daily update 🐝

🐝There is a total of 102 IP’s, with all confirmed cases either having links to existing cases or geographically related.

🐝More than 96% of reported managed hives in the eradication emergency zone areas have been euthanised.

Euthanasia operations continue in the remainder of the Newcastle / Hunter eradication emergency zone areas.

🐝🐝🐝A reminder to anyone with hives in the eradication emergency zone still to notify DPI of hive locations, please do so via the Beekeeper Varroa mite notification form https://forms.bfs.dpi.nsw.gov.au/forms/12288

You can check if your hives are within the eradication zone via the interactive map at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

🐝Baiting of wild European honey bees has commenced in Nana Glen and Denman. The first round of baiting at Jerrys Plains has been completed.

🐝Don’t forget to report the results of your alcohol washes at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/alcohol-wash.

🐝Beekeepers who have hives at risk of inundation in areas described by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) as under a current flood warning can move their hives to high ground under a current Emergency Group Permit. Under the permit hives can be moved to a location at a higher elevation at the same premises.

Notify DPI of the movement by completing the online form or by calling 1800 084 881.

🐝NSW DPI is receiving a high volume of calls about swarming. If you have questions about what to do, or how to report a swam, please visit our guide at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

For more information on the Varroa mite response visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa or call the hotline on 1800 084 881.

🐝Varroa mite emergency response daily update 🐝

🐝There is a total of 102 IP’s, with all confirmed cases either having links to existing cases or geographically related.

🐝More than 95% of reported managed hives in the eradication emergency zone areas have been euthanised.

Euthanasia operations continue in the remainder of the Newcastle / Hunter eradication emergency zone areas.

🐝🐝🐝A reminder to anyone with hives in the eradication emergency zone still to notify DPI of hive locations, please do so via the Beekeeper Varroa mite notification form https://forms.bfs.dpi.nsw.gov.au/forms/12288

You can check if your hives are within the eradication zone via the interactive map at www.dpi.nws.gov.au/varroa

🐝Baiting of wild bees continues at Jerrys Plains and has commenced in Nana Glen.

🐝Don’t forget to report the results of your alcohol washes at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/alcohol-wash.

🐝Beekeepers who have hives at risk of inundation in areas described by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) as under a current flood warning can move their hives to high ground under a current Emergency Group Permit. Under the permit hives can be moved to a location at a higher elevation at the same premises.

Notify DPI of the movement by completing the online form or by calling 1800 084 881.

🐝NSW DPI is receiving a high volume of calls about swarming. If you have questions about what to do, or how to report a swam, please visit our guide at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

For more information on the Varroa mite response visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa or call the hotline on 1800 084 881.

🐝Varroa mite emergency response daily update 🐝

🐝There is a total of 102 IP’s, with all confirmed cases either having links to existing cases or geographically related.

🐝More than 95% of hives in the Eradication Emergency Zone areas have been euthanised.

Euthanasia operations continue in the remainder of the Newcastle / Hunter Eradication Emergency Zone areas.

🐝Baiting of wild bees continues at Jerrys Plains and has commenced in Nana Glen.

🐝Don’t forget to report the results of your alcohol washes at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/alcohol-wash.

🐝Beekeepers who have hives at risk of inundation in areas described by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) as under a current flood warning can move their hives to high ground under a current Emergency Group Permit. Under the permit hives can be moved to a location at a higher elevation at the same premises.

Notify DPI of the movement by completing the online form or by calling 1800 084 881.

🐝NSW DPI is receiving a high volume of calls about swarming. If you have questions about what to do, or how to report a swam, please visit our guide at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

For more information on the Varroa mite response visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa or call the hotline on 1800 084 881.

Varroa mite emergency zones

There are three Varroa mite zones.

Varroa map legend

Different restrictions apply depending on where your honeybees and hives are located.

If you have honeybee colonies or hives in the Eradication or Surveillance zone, you must tell NSW DPI where they are. This includes queen honeybees in cages and packaged honeybees.

What do the emergency zones mean?

  • The red represents the 10km eradication zones where honeybee hives will be euthanised.
  • The purple shows the 25km surveillance zones, where officials are monitoring and inspecting managed and feral honeybees to limit the extent of these incursions.

If you find varroa mite in a hive you are responsible for, notify NSW DPI by:

Varroa mite emergency zone map


Media releases

January 2023

December 2022

November 2022

October 2022

September 2022

August 2022

July 2022

June 2022