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

June 30, 2022

A Movement Control Order has been issued to restrict the movement of bees, bee hives, bee products – including honey – and used bee-keeping equipment from NSW into Queensland.

The control order has been issued in the wake of the Varroa destructor mite being detected in NSW.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said Biosecurity Queensland was taking this action to protect the State’s bee industry as varroa mites pose a serious risk to honey production and pollination services.

“NSW has taken swift action to restrict the spread of varroa mite, however if control measures fail and varroa mite enters Queensland, there are limited options for eradicating (it),” Mr Furner said.

“No effective natural enemies of varroa mite exist and I urge everyone with an interest in keeping varroa mite out of Queensland to make themselves familiar with the Movement Control Order.

Bees, hives, bee products and equipment can continue to be moved within Queensland.

In NSW, there is a state-wide standstill of all bees, hives, apiary equipment and untreated bee products.

All beekeepers are encouraged to:

  • Monitor their hives and immediately report unexpected hive deaths, deformed bees, bees with parasites, poor brood patterns and dead brood to Biosecurity Queensland on 13-25-23; and
  • Register as a biosecurity entity if they own or keep at least one hive. Registration is free for non-commercial beekeepers and native bee hives do not need to be registered. Register through www.daf.qld.gov.au

Queensland beekeepers suffered their own varroa mite scare in 2019-20 when Varroa jacobsoni mites were detected in feral Asian honey bee nests at the Port of Townsville.

Varroa jacobsoni is related to Varroa destructor, the mite which has been linked to the collapse in European honey bee colonies around the world.

This incursion was eradicated and Australia was officially declared free from the bee parasite in 2021.

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