Report suspected varroa mite

Queensland is a varroa mite biosecurity zone.

A movement control order (MCO) is in place to restrict the movement of bees, bee hives, bee products (including honey) and used beekeeping equipment into, out of, and within the restricted area surrounding the Port of Brisbane in Queensland.

Varroa mite is a prohibited matter under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Help keep Queensland free of varroa mite by:

Step 1: Take a photo of the suspected mite

The best photo of suspected varroa mite includes:

  • the mite against a white background
  • clear view of the specimen, separated from other material
  • specimen laying right-side-up (legs down) or upside-down (legs up)—as long as the shape of the mite is clearly visible
  • something in the photos for size comparison (e.g. cotton bud, coin or pencil).

Placing the mite on the tip of a cotton bud is the preferred method.

If you cannot separate the suspected varroa mite from the bee or pupae, take a photograph with the mite still on the bee or pupae. The mite must remain in clear view.

If you are unable to take a photo, contact us online, by phone or in person.

photos of varroa mite specimens resting on the tip of a white cotton bud.photos of varroa mite specimens resting on the tip of a white cotton bud.
Images: These images are a perfect example of good photos of varroa mite using a standard smart phone

Step 2: Preserve the suspect sample

After you have taken a photo of the suspected varroa mite, you must save the sample.

If the mite is still attached to a bee or pupae, save the whole bee or pupae with the mite still attached.

Place the suspected mites (whether on or off a bee or pupae) into a sealable or screw-cap specimen container, or plastic zip-lock bag. A non-crushable container is ideal and will maintain sample integrity.

If you have access to a vial and >70% ethanol (e.g. methylated spirits), you can also use this to preserve the sample. However, this is not essential.

Use a waterproof marker to clearly label the container or bag with:

  • your name
  • the date the sample was collected
  • details of the sample (e.g. suspected varroa mite on bee).

Place the labelled container or bag in the freezer (-20⁰C) overnight.

Step 3: Report the suspected mite

Report online

Complete the Bee 123 form to report your suspected varroa mite. Attach the photos of the suspected mite.

If you're having trouble accessing the form, email varroa@daf.qld.gov.au.

Email DAF

Send an email to varroa@daf.qld.gov.au with:

  • your full name
  • your contact phone number
  • the location where the mite was found
  • photos of the suspected mite attached
  • the subject line 'Suspected varroa mite'.

Step 4: Wait for a biosecurity officer to contact you

We will contact you once we've received your report.

Do not send a sample to the Plant Biosecurity Laboratory before being instructed to by a biosecurity officer.

Where possible and if necessary, one of our biosecurity officers will collect your sample.

Step 5: Prepare your sample for sending

Only after being instructed to by a biosecurity officer, prepare your sample for sending to the Plant Biosecurity Laboratory.

Each sample will need to be triple packaged and quarantine secure.

If you used ethanol, drain all liquid ethanol off the sample prior to posting. This is required because ethanol is classed as a 'dangerous good'. The sample will remain wet with ethanol even after draining and will remain well-preserved until it gets to us.

The saved sample in the labelled container or zip lock bag must be kept in the freezer overnight. This package is the first layer of the triple package.

Put the labelled container or zip lock bag inside another press-seal plastic bag or plastic container.

Put this press-seal plastic bag or plastic container inside a padded bag, tough bag, corrugated cardboard box or bio-bottle.

Step 6: Complete the sample submission form

Complete the varroa mite sample submission form. Print a copy to include with your sample to the Laboratory.

Make sure all your contact details are correct.

Step 7: Send the suspected mite to the Plant Biosecurity Laboratory

Address your sample correctly and to the attention of 'Entomology'. An incorrect address will delay your sample.

Send your samples on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday if possible. Samples that sit in transport over weekends can become degraded. If delivery delays occur, the specimen may not be in a condition to allow identification.

Packages can be:

  • delivered by courier (preferred option)
  • dropped off in person
  • sent by express post (if under 2kg).

A biosecurity officer will contact you after your sample has been received.

Courier or drop-off address

Plant Biosecurity Laboratory
Ecosciences Precinct
B3 Loading Dock
Joe Baker Street
DUTTON PARK  QLD  4102

Postal address

Plant Biosecurity Laboratory
Ecosciences Precinct
GPO Box 67
BRISBANE  QLD  4001

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