NSW welcomes new national Varroa Mite management plan and funding to kick start industry implementation


The NSW Government has today welcomed the decision of the Varroa Mite National Management Group to approve the National Transition to Management Plan. The group, comprised of State and Federal governments, as well as beekeeping and pollination industry representatives have unanimously agreed to usher in a new phase for biosecurity management of Varroa mite.

The priority of the NSW Government moving forward will be to work with industry to ensure beekeepers understand how to best manage the pest in this new phase.

The aim of the Transition to Management Plan is to increase resilience and minimise ongoing impacts of Varroa mite for the bee industry and pollination reliant industries. This outcome will be achieved by slowing the spread, building industry resilience, providing management options and support for pollination security.

The Australian Government, state and territory governments and 16 industries have committed to share up to $100 million of the costs of the response to date and transition to management activities.

As a category 2 emergency plant pest the contributions are 40% (up to $40 million) from the Australian Government, 40% (up to $40 million) from state and territory governments and 20% (up to $20 million) shared across 16 industry groups.

The $100 million national program to date has helped minimise and mitigate financial impacts on Australia’s honey and pollination-dependent industries and protected thousands of jobs.

The NSW Government has prepared for this transition and can start immediately to upskill industry, with training modules already completed and ready to go. The next step now is organising industry events, workshops, and placing materials online.

The recruitment process for new roles under the plan is currently underway and the NSW Government will immediately recruit Varroa Development Officers (VDOs) who work directly with beekeepers to increase their ability to manage Varroa.

Another critical role of the VDOs will be to develop, train and maintain a network of volunteer beekeepers who will monitor hives for the presence of Varroa and provide information on the spread of the mite.

Additionally, the response will employ a Pollination Industry Coordinator (PIC) to assist the pollination dependent industries to better understand and manage their needs. This will be critical for smaller industries who have relied on wild bees for pollination and never engaged with pollination service providers.

The NMG made the decision in late 2023 that Varroa mite was no longer eradicable from Australia after commencing the national program for eradication in July 2022.

For the latest information head to Varroa mite emergency response.

Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Tara Moriarty said:

“The NSW Government is prepared and will immediately roll out resources, information, support and training for our beekeepers and pollination reliant agriculture sectors to address this new biosecurity transition.

We will work closely with industry at this critical time and deliver programs that enhance the health and robustness of NSW’s beekeeping industry.

Australia is the last major honey producing country in the world to get Varroa mite, and we are using international experience and science in understanding how best to prepare beekeepers and the beekeeping and pollination reliant industries.

Australian Honey Bee Industry Council CEO Danny Le Feuvre said:

“The plan will see Varroa Development Officers employed nationally to help drive on the ground support for beekeepers dealing with this pest for the first time, which will be welcomed by all I am sure.

Almond Board of Australia CEO Tim Jackson said:

“Pollination reliant industrues have a large stake in the transition to management as well as beekeepers.

Experience from around the world shows that pollination reliant industries will need to work very closely with beekeepers to mitigate problems caused by the Varroa mite’s impact on wild European honeybee populations.”

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