Varroa mite detected but not ‘destructor’ species that hit NSW

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities The Honourable Mark Furner
  • Mite detected in surveillance hives at Port of Brisbane
  • Movement control order within 10km radius of detection site
  • Biosecurity Queensland conducting ongoing tracing and surveillance

A single varroa mite has been found in a sentinel beehive at the Port of Brisbane after a routine inspection by Biosecurity Queensland.

Diagnostic testing has confirmed the mite is Varroa jacobsoni – not Varroa destructor.

Secondary testing is now being conducted to determine if the mite is carrying any exotic viruses of honeybees or if any other exotic bee pests are present.

Biosecurity Queensland is undertaking tracing activities to identify the potential source and likelihood of spread.

Surveillance is being conducted in conjunction with the Queensland bee industry and the Australian Government to determine if there are any more varroa mites in the surrounding area.

As a precautionary measure, a movement control order (MCO) is now in place to prevent any potential spread.

Movement restrictions apply to all beekeepers who have hives in or have had hives in the surrounding localities to the Port of Brisbane within the past 90 days.

Restrictions apply to the movement of bees, bee hives, bee products and used bee keeping equipment.

Both Varroa jacobsoni and Varroa destructor are classified as prohibited matter under the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014. If found or suspected, they must be reported immediately to Biosecurity Queensland.

Beekeepers must also notify Biosecurity Queensland of any hive movements in or out of the movement control area or any bees bought or sold in the last 90 days.

Report varroa mite to Biosecurity Queensland online or by calling 13 25 23.

Biosecurity Queensland is contacting registered beekeepers inside that zone, but anyone unsure of what the control order requires of them is urged to contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23 before moving any items.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner:

“Any new incursion of varroa mites is concerning, even if this particular detection is Varroa jacobsoni rather than Varroa destructor,” Mr Furner said.

“Incidents like this one are why these surveillance hives are in key sites like the Port of Brisbane. This shows that our biosecurity systems are working, and the importance of early surveillance so we can respond swiftly.”

“Queensland is no stranger to a Varroa jacobosni incursions and has successfully eradicated this pest in Townsville in 2016, 2019, and 2020.”

“It is vital that beekeepers abide by the control order restrictions and follow the advice of Biosecurity Queensland.”

Quotes attributable to Queensland Beekeepers Association president Jacob Stevens:

“The Queensland Beekeepers’ Association Inc is in position and ready to provide meaningful support to our impacted beekeepers in the movement control zones,” Mr Stevens said.

“In recent years we’ve provided our expertise and technical knowledge to Biosecurity Queensland to deliver successful eradications of mites detected in Queensland.

“Queensland has a history of exotic incursions and the QBA is confident our beekeepers will rise to the challenge acting on our call to action to undertake varroa mite surveillance immediately, reporting all results to Bee 123.”

Explainer – what beekeepers can do:

All Queensland beekeepers are urged to:

  • continue monitoring hives for varroa mite using the alcohol wash method (at least every 16 weeks)
  • report your hive check using the quick and easy Bee 123 form, even if you do not find any suspect mites
  • immediately report unexpected hive deaths, deformed bees, bees with parasites, poor brood patterns and dead brood to Biosecurity Queensland

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