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).

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.

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.

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 allowed following a surveillance event that is reported to NSW DPI and completion of a hive movement declaration.
  • Your hive health is your responsibility.
  • Where results indicate that mites are present DPI will supply miticide strips to be installed in infested hives.
  • 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.

What can beekeepers do in the Management Zone?

  • 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.
  • NSW DPI will ensure all beekeepers with hives in these zones will be provided with miticide strips for a mass supression event.
  • Free movement is allowed within Management Zones.
  • Movement of bees and apiary equipment into the Suppression Zone under permit will be allowed where a risk assessment determines that it poses little risk of spreading the mite.
  • Movement between Management Zones is allowed under secure conditions

Beekeepers in all current Red Zones (areas declared Red Zones up until 20 September 2023) are allowed the option of voluntary euthanasia of hives and subsequent access to Owner Reimbursement Costs.

What must all beekeepers do?

  • All beekeepers with managed hives 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.

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.

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

What beekeepers should do

  • Use the online map to determine what zone your hives are now in.
  • All registered beekeepers are required to conduct three alcohol washes a year, at least once 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

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: