Varroa mite emergency response

On 13 February 2024 the National Management Group (NMG) approved the next phase of the national Transition to Management (T2M) plan for Varroa mite. The T2M plan aims to increase resilience and minimise ongoing impacts of varroa mite naturalisation across Australia's bee and pollination-dependent industries.

This phase of the plan focuses on increased training to help beekeepers prepare and manage the pest.

Varroa mite was first detected in DPI surveillance hives at the Port of Newcastle in June 2022. The Varroa mite Response was established immediately and became a national response funded and supported by Commonwealth, state and territory governments as well as contributing industries.

The response quickly became the largest multi-agency plant biosecurity response in Australia's history, and sought to carefully manage biosecurity risk, protect agricultural industry and maintain business continuity.

The Varroa mite Response is overseen by the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP) and the National Management Group (NMG). The  NMG is made up of representatives from the Federal Government, every state and territory department and executives from relevant peak industry bodies and Plant Health Australia.

Transition to management of Varroa mite

What happens now?

A Varroa mite Control Order is now in place.

There are two Varroa mite Control zones in place in NSW, the Suppression (SCZ) and Management (MCZ) Control Zones. See the Zones map on this page.

Beekeepers are required to notify NSW DPI of movements from the MCZ to the SCZ.

Beekeepers are required to conduct surveillance on their own hives.

Beekeepers are required to use approved treatment protocols to treat hives which reach a minimum infestation threshold.

Further details on these requirements are provided on this website and the latest Varroa mite Emergency Response FAQs

What can beekeepers do in the Suppression Control Zone?

  • Movement of bees and hives is permitted within and out of the Suppression Zone.
  • Your hive health is your responsibility.
  • All beekeepers in NSW are required to complete hive testing every 16 weeks (alcohol washing, soapy water wash, sugar shake or miticide strip and sticky mat) and report any positive results to DPI on the day the testing was carried out. If the result is negative for Varroa, this result must be reported to NSW DPI within 7 days.
  • Report your surveillance results here

What can beekeepers do in the Management Control Zone?

  • Moving bees and hives out of the Management Control Zone is permitted provided you
    • Complete a surveillance action within 14 days before the movement
    • If Varroa mite is detected, treat for 48 hours before the movement
    • Submit a Hive Movement Declaration before the move.
    • Ensure the person transporting the bees or hives has a copy of the completed hive movement declaration while bees or hives are in transit.
    • Beekeepers must keep record of the movement for 5 years
  • Your hive health is your responsibility.
  • 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 positive results to NSW DPI on the day of testing. If the result is negative for Varroa this result must be reported to NSW DPI within 7 days
  • Report your surveillance results here

What must all beekeepers do?

  • 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
  • This process is important to follow now that Varroa will be naturalised in Australia and any further spread needs to be monitored to provide industry with tools to make management decisions – test, report and respond.
  • A Hive Movement Declaration must be submitted to NSW DPI for the movement of hives out of the Management Control Zone, prior to the move.
  • Records must be retained and made available for audit when required.

NSW DPI thanks beekeepers for their patience and compliance as we work with the Consultative Committee for Plant Pests on plans for management.

Your compliance is essential in helping to slow the spread and allowing beekeepers and pollination industries to understand and manage challenges caused by the naturalisation of Varroa.

Varroa mite Primefact

To learn more about Varroa biology and monitoring, read the Varroa mite Primefact

The Varroa Emergency Response Hotline, accessed via the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881, is operational Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm.

Varroa mite heat map

This interactive map shows where Varroa mite detections have been reported. The legend has different colours to represent the number of detections in each area. The map is updated weekly.

Number of detections

Varroa mite Control zones

There are two Varroa mite Control zones.

Key for map below

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

Varroa mite emergency zone map


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: