This summer bee keepers worldwide saw the news that Australia now must deal with the impact of varroa destructor on their bee keeping industry. With the pollination contracts in Australia estimated to be worth between 8-11 billion pounds to the Australian economy, the Australian government is aiming to eradicate the varroa mite infestation and believes that it can do it.
In June a number of biosecurity zones were set up in New South Wales near the port of Newcastle where varroa was detected to limit the spread of varroa across the state and country. As the situation progresses, commercial bee keepers have been given more permission to move colonies and fulfil the vital pollination contracts that many growers rely on. Australia have had infestations of another species of varroa, Jacobsoni.
Over 1500 colonies have been destroyed already to attempt the raid spread of varroa. An 18-million-dollar compensation scheme has been created for bee keepers effected by the varroa outbreak in New South Wales. This shows just how committed Australia are to eradicating the varroa mite.
As a bee keeper who manages the varroa populations in my hives I will be watching the events unfold in Australia closely to see what happens. I hope that the bee keeping industry in Australia can manage the impact of this formidable pest, fingers crossed for them.
Dylan, Bee Health