Australia had been the last continent to remain free of varroa mite, which can weaken bees or cause death from viral infection, until they were detected in sentinel hives at the Port of Newcastle in NSW last year. This led to a year of “tireless” eradication efforts. However, Australia will cease attempts to eradicate a deadly bee parasite.
The National Management Group (NMG) made the decision to shift efforts to managing the spread of varroa mite this week after the government’s $132 million response saw 30,000 hives euthanized in a bid to wipe out the mite.
“The transition from an ‘eradication’ program to a ‘management’ program was concluded because of the many factors working against a possible eradication in Australia,” the NSW government said in a statement this week. The NMG made the decision after considering factors such as evidence of illegal movement of bee hives, noncompliance on testing, and a recent spike in new detections.