Bees saved, Varroa mite eradicated from Queensland

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Australia’s honey bee industry is once again safe from the threat of varroa mite after the National Management Group declared the exotic parasite eradicated from Australia.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the current eradication effort began in 2019 when varroa mites were found in the first of two detections in nests of exotic Asian honey bees at the Port of Townsville.

This follows a previous successful eradication program led by Biosecurity Queensland that commenced in 2016 following a detection of varroa mites in a feral Asian honey bee nest at the Port of Townsville in June 2016.  This incident was declared eradicated by the National Management Group on 1 July 2020.

“The apiary industry will be very relieved to know that we have formally eradicated the outbreak of these tiny pests in the area,” Mr Furner said.

“Varroa mites have caused mass disruption to crop pollination and honey production across the world.

“The eradication of the outbreak means Australia keeps its status as the only major honey producing country in the world to be free from this highly invasive pest.

“I congratulate Biosecurity Queensland’s response team for their dedication and skill in detecting this threat early and their efforts to achieve such a swift and effective eradication.”

Queensland Beekeepers Association secretary Jo Martin said protecting the health and welfare of the Australian Honey bee industry is paramount to the security of food and fibre production.

"Beekeepers continue to contribute more than $2.4B to the Queensland economy each year through the professional pollination services provided to our growing horticultural sector,” Ms Martin said.

“Strong biosecurity programs, coupled with rapid responses to exotic pest detections, not only protect the health and welfare of the honey bee industry, they also protect the welfare of our hard-working farming friends. 

"On behalf of the Queensland Beekeepers' Association, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Rob Stephens and the National Varroa Mite Eradication Program team for their professionalism and dedication, delivering another great result for our industry". 

"Although the most recent incursion has been successfully eradicated, all Queenslanders have a role to play in protecting our food and fibre industries from biosecurity threats.

“The QBA will continue to work closely with the Queensland Government to protect the future of beekeeping in Queensland. The state's beekeepers can be reassured the Queensland Government is fighting alongside industry, protecting our front line of defence". 

Source Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities The Honourable Mark Furner

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