The Varroa mite eradication target is now moving into the euthanasia and response elimination phase, encompassing the Newcastle, Port Stephens and Central Coast regions.
It follows extensive successful surveillance around the perimeter of the “red” zone.
Dr Satendra Kumar, plant protection officer for the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), said the aim was to completely eradicate the mite.
“This requires taking measures that will significantly reduce the likelihood of any further natural spread around known infected sites,” he explained.
“Eradication activities will begin at the outer edges of the red areas and move towards the center.”
The first major operation takes place around Calga.
Affected beekeepers will be contacted by the local response team to confirm their hive details and discuss hive disposal and refund options.
As part of this phase, all hives located in the eradication area will need to be euthanized, including those that are varroa-free.
“To achieve complete eradication, it is essential that we look beyond the only known infected sites and eradicate all potential future hosts where incubation of the parasite might take place,” said Dr Kumar.
“Our extensive monitoring and knowledge of the natural spread pattern of the Varroa mite provides the basis for determining eradication zones, marking a 10 km radius around all infected sites, to reduce the potential for further natural spread. .”
A reimbursement scheme has been made available to support registered commercial and recreational beekeepers affected by eradication operations as part of the Varroa response.
Authorized agents will provide affected beekeepers with details of how they can claim compensation.
The Varroa Mites Reimbursement Scheme is administered by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority.
There are now 99 Infected Premises (IP) in New South Wales.
“Two additional IP addresses were detected on Friday August 19 in Mayfield and Calga, both close to the existing IP addresses,” Dr. Kumar said.
“All confirmed cases either have clear links to existing cases or are geographically linked.
“The response team understands the challenge of this task and the impact on the beekeepers involved and seeks to work closely with the community to completely eradicate the Varroa mite in our area.”
Dr Kumar said an updated emergency order was issued on Friday August 19, which included allowing a registered beekeeper to divide hives in one establishment and simplifying the movement of honey supers in each area.
“I strongly encourage all beekeepers to keep up to date with what they can and cannot do in each emergency area by visiting the DPI website and checking for daily updates via the website and the NSW DPI Biosecurity Facebook page,” he said.
For more information on Varroa mite response go to www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa