Varroa mite emergency response

Transition to management of Varroa mite

The National Varroa mite emergency response has been working tirelessly towards the agreed goal of eradication since June 2022. The focus of the response has now shifted to transitioning to management of Varroa Mite, as endorsed by the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP) and agreed by the National Management Group (NMG).

What does transition to management of Varroa mite mean?

The aim of the transition to management program is to work to increase resilience and capacity to manage Varroa mite within the Australian honey bee industry and thereby minimise ongoing impacts of Varroa mite naturalisation on the bee industry and pollination reliant industries. This will occur through slowing the spread, building industry resilience, provide management options and supporting pollination security.

This transition will take time and we will continue to update you as the plan progresses.

We value the sacrifice of every beekeeper and thank everyone for their cooperation during the Varroa mite response and this evolving situation. Those who have sacrificed their bees for this response should know that their help has not be in vain and demonstrates industry's commitment to being part of the solution.

What happens now?

A new Varroa mite Emergency Order is now in place.

In this interim period, NSW DPI will immediately cease mandatory euthanasia of hives in what were eradication emergency zones (red zones). Beekeepers still located within those zones will be able to opt in for euthanasia and ORC if they wish.

The Surveillance Emergency (Purple) zones will cease, as will any of the smaller regional outlier Eradication Emergency (Red) zones, including Gumble, Cuttabri, Somerton, Harparary, the southern pollination zones, Coffs Harbour area including Nana Glen. These will join the previous General Emergency (Blue) zone to become the Suppression Zone.

The Red zones in the Kempsey, Hunter and Central Coast regions become Management Zones.

Keep up to date with the latest Varroa mite Emergency Response FAQs here.

What can beekeepers do in the Suppression Zone?

  • Movement is permitted within and out of the Suppression Zone, once a Hive Movement Declaration form has been completed.
  • 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 results to DPI within 7 days. Where results indicate a mite infestation DPI will supply miticide strips to be installed in infested hives.
  • Report your surveillance results here

What can beekeepers do in the Management Zone?

  • All beekeepers with managed hives within the Management Zone must notify NSW DPI of the location of their hives, by calling 1800 084 881 or by completing the Beekeeper Notifications - Varroa mite online form
  • You must continue to undertake hive testing (alcohol washing, soapy water wash or miticide strip and sticky mat) every 16 weeks and report the results to NSW DPI within 7 days. Report your surveillance results here
  • Movement of bees, hives and permitted bee feeders out of the Management zone is not permitted.
  • Movement of apiary equipment out of the Management Zone is permitted once cleaned and free of any bee material and live bees.
  • Movement between Management Zones is allowed under secure conditions.

Beekeepers in former Red Zones (areas declared Red Zones up until 20 September 2023) have until 25 October 2023 to notify NSW DPI  on 1800 084 881 if they would like to take up the option of voluntary euthanasia of hives and apply for  Owner Reimbursement Costs.

What must all beekeepers do?

  • Beekeepers with managed hives in the Management Zone must notify NSW DPI of the location of their hives, by calling 1800 084 881 or by completing the Beekeeper Notifications - Varroa mite online form
  • All beekeepers in NSW are required to complete hive testing (alcohol washing, soapy water wash or miticide strip and sticky mat) every 16 weeks and report the results to NSW DPI within 7 days.
  • 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.
  • Hive movement declarations must be submitted to DPI for all movements of hives. Records must be retained and made available for audit when required.  You can submit a hive movement declaration here.
  • All miticide treatments must be recorded and reported to DPI.

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 we have detected Varroa mite. The legend has different colours to represent the number of detections in each area.

Number of detections

Varroa mite emergency zones

There are two Varroa mite zones.

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: