Manage varroa mite
Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) was first detected in New South Wales in June 2022.
In September 2023, the National Management Group announced the transition from eradication to management for varroa mite, with all Australian states and territories committing to this approach.
In Queensland, the transition will be over 3 stages to:
- limit the impacts and slow the spread of varroa mite
- provide time for industry and government to adapt to managing varroa mite
- enable Queensland's honeybee and pollination-reliant industries to enhance their bee biosecurity and business resilience.
Stage 1: Not present in Queensland
Stage 1 focuses on minimising the risk of varroa mite entering Queensland:
Biosecurity Queensland will undertake surveillance in partnership with beekeepers.
Stage 2: Initial detection
Stage 2 will focus on:
- control and containment for infested premises
- delimiting surveillance to establish the extent of infestation and mite loading.
Biosecurity Queensland will:
- issue acaricide to treat varroa mite
- provide beekeepers with information on integrated pest management approaches.
Beekeepers will be required to follow strict instructions when using chemicals to ensure maximum residue levels remain within food safety guidelines.
Mandatory euthanasia will not be used to control varroa mite infestations. However, in cases of non-compliance activities (i.e. illegal movement), Biosecurity Queensland will take the appropriate action to protect the broader industry.
Education and training for industry will be available.
De-identified data will be used to develop informative tools to assist in business decision making (i.e. online mapping).
Stage 3: Long-term management
Biosecurity Queensland will undertake surveillance to determine pest presence, mite loading and best practice management options.
Integrated pest management approaches will continue to evolve and be promoted to minimise the potential of varroa mite gaining chemical resistance.
Acaricides will be available for rotational use in pest management, and their use will depend on mite loading.
Beekeepers need to report their hive checks and any unexpected bee deaths or concerns.
This data ensures we can accurately represent the absence and presence of varroa mite populations in Queensland.
During an initial detection of varroa mite, Biosecurity Queensland will be the sole distributor of acaricides.
Chemical treatment should only be carried out where mites are detected to avoid any risk of a chemical-resistant mite population.
Beekeepers will be required to follow strict instructions when using chemicals to ensure maximum residue levels remain within food safety guidelines. Penalties apply for incorrectly using chemicals.
Wild European Honeybee data from New South Wales has shown varroa mite populations build slowly, taking up to 12 months to cause colony collapse.
- Last reviewed: 9 Nov 2023
- Last updated: 9 Nov 2023