A Varroa mite parasite on the back of a honey bee (Photo: USDA-ARS/Steve Ausmus)

August 11, 2021

Australia has been declared officially free from the bee parasite, Varroa jacobsoni, following its successful eradication from Townsville.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud thanked Queensland for leading the national response.

Varroa jacobsoni was detected in recently arrived feral Asian honey bee nests at the Port of Townsville in May 2019 and April 2020,” Minister Littleproud said.

Varroa jacobsoni is related to Varroa destructor which is responsible for a collapse in European honey bee colonies around the world.

“While not as destructive, Varroa jacobsoni has the potential to jump from Asian honey bee to European honey bees and impact our industries that rely on bees.

“The Australian, State and Territory governments, the Australian Honeybee Bee Industry Council, and affected pollination-reliant plant industries shared the cost of the response.

“Thanks to the hard work of Queensland and collaboration between governments and industry, Australia remains one of the few countries in the world that remains free of both species of varroa mite.

“Australia depends on everyone playing their part to protect our biosecurity and safeguard our vital agriculture industries and environment.”

Asian honey bee is established in Cairns region but this population does not not carry varroa mites.

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