Varroa Destructor Mite

Varroa Destructor Mite

11 July 2022

NSW DPI has detected Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) in surveillance hives at the Port of Newcastle and is working to eradicate the parasite.

There is currently no reason to suspect that varroa mite is in the ACT. While there have been no detections in the ACT, the ACT Government is taking necessary action to control the outbreak and minimise the risk to the Territory.

What is it?

Varroa destructor or the Varroa mite is a parasitic mite the size of a pin head that affects the European honey bee.

Varroa mites are easily identifiable as they are oval, flat and a reddish-brown colour.

They are considered the greatest threat to Australia’s honey bee pollination plant industries but do not pose a risk to human health or food safety.

Movement Restrictions

To protect the bee community in Canberra and the surrounds, the movement of honey bees and used honey bee hives and equipment into the ACT will be restricted. These restrictions apply to any bees and beehives that have been in NSW at any time within the last six months, including bees and hives which have moved to other jurisdictions in this time.

The movement into the ACT of honey bees (Apis mellifera) or used hives that have been in NSW anytime since 22 December 2021 is not permitted.

The movement into the ACT of used apiary equipment that has been in NSW is not permitted. The movement of apiary products, including honey, is permitted.

Restrictions will remain in place as long as is deemed necessary, until the outbreak is controlled and is no longer considered to be a threat. New hives, or hives that have never been exposed to or had contact with bees, will not be affected by these new restrictions.

These measures align with other states and territories. The ACT Government is collaborating with our colleagues at the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as well as other states and territories on national response arrangements.

What you can do

  • Register your hives. Beekeeper registration is free and helps the ACT Government to easily contact you in the event of a bee-related disease outbreak.
  • Inspect your hives regularly for pests and diseases. Checking for varroa mite should be included in a hive inspection. Information on performing a hive inspection and photos of a range of bee pests and diseases are available on the Bee Aware website beeaware.org.au.
  • If you suspect you have found varroa mite in your hives phone the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

To read about the new restrictions visit the ACT Legislation Register or email Bees@act.gov.au.

To learn more about Varroa destructors visit the National pest and disease outbreaks website.

Various bee hives