Sydney NSW, Australia
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Australia still has opportunity to eradicate varroa mites

Fresh Plaza

Varroa mites have recently reached Australia, detected at the Port of Newcastle in New South Wales last year. If they establish here, there would be significant implications for agricultural food security, as honey bees are heavily relied on for the pollination of many crops.

However, while Australia is the last continent to be invaded by the mite, it has an opportunity to be the first to eradicate it. Previous invasions of varroa have been successfully eradicated before establishing, but this time, varroa circumvented the biosecurity surveillance near Newcastle and spread locally.

The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries has been contact-tracing and culling hives in contaminated areas, and the spread has been slow so far. Australia has large populations of feral honey bees, which could potentially act as a reservoir for varroa and are much harder to trace and control, so the department is tackling this with a wild honey bee baiting program.



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