Bee rules ‘unreasonable’

October 7, 2013

From: Weekly Times Now

Emma Field

THE first shipment of queen bees into Australia in seven years is due to arrive next week.

But the bee importer said the stringent conditions put on the shipment by the federal Department of Agriculture may discourage further imports.

And this would make Australia more vulnerable to the varroa mite, an external parasite that has devastated overseas bee populations but has yet to be found here.


Australian Queenbee Exporter owner Warren Taylor of Blayney in NSW is bringing in from Canada 10 queen bees that are tolerant to varroa mite. They will be held at the Eastern Creek quarantine facility.

DAFF recently lifted a three-year ban on bee imports. Imports are now approved from Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the European Union.

Mr Taylor said he planned to use the larvae and eggs from the bees, which would never leave the quarantine, and sell the offspring back to Canada, which relies on queen bees imports at the beginning of the season, after the snow melts, in April.

He also said he would test the bees for domestic use.

“I think the industry should be prepared for varroa, so we should be spreading the varroa-tolerant stock about the country,” he said.

He was scathing of DAFF’s procedures in the import process, and said the red tape involved would probably put off other potential importers and even encourage illegal smuggling.

“We have been almost seven years knocking at the door of government trying to get them and some of the conditions (DAFF had made were) totally unreasonable,” he said

Australian Honeybee Industry Council executive director Trevor Weatherhead welcomed DAFF lifting its import suspension and said he wanted to see more varroa-tolerant bee genetics allowed in.

“We have a situation where we are probably going to get varroa mite, so instead of developing bees to be resistant to varroa we can bring them in,” he said.

DAFF assistant secretary animal division Andrew Cupit said the department aimed to protect the industry from exotic diseases and the queen bees would be subject to strict biosecurity requirements during the import process.


Leave a Comment

(not required for anonymous comments)

(optional; will not be published)

Please Answer: *


Submit a Post

Upload Files