Australia prepares for varroa outbreak

October 9, 2013

From: Radio New Zealand

Australia is one of the few places in the world still free of the varroa mite but it’s gearing up for the day the devastating honey bee parasite hits its shores.

It has lifted a seven-year ban on bee imports as part of its efforts to prepare for any outbreak of the pest, which attacks bee colonies and is rampant in many of the world’s honey production areas, the ABC reports.

Federal Department of Agriculture spokesperson Andrew Cupit told the Country Hour programme resistant bees would be brought into Australia to help strengthen local colonies.

“It will hopefully give us a better chance of dealing with varroa, if it arrives in Australia,” Mr Cupit said.

Imports would be limited to queen bees, each of which would be sent to a quarantine facility accompanied by 30 escort bees. The escorts would be destroyed, leaving the queen to produce more queen bees, and only those daughter queen bees would leave quarantine.

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