Qld beekeepers buzz as pests are eradicated | Liverpool City Champion


Queensland authorities are confident that a second varroa mite eradication program in Townsville harbor has once again wiped out the parasite from Australia.

Despite a previous eradication program in 2016, two Asian honey bee nests were found in 2019 containing varroa mites, by Biosecurity Queensland.

Authorities only have 48 hours to detect, quarantine and isolate a nest if it is found to be invaded by mites.

With subsequent monitoring programs and a determined response, Biosecuirty Queensland is certain it has eliminated the mites, which are dangerous forays into the state’s bee populations.

Varroa mites are known to bury themselves in the combs of honeycombs, attach themselves to new bee populations and “suck life out” as they grow, explains Jo Martin of the Queensland Beekeepers Association (QBA).

“What you are starting to see is a dramatic drop in the number of new babies being generated, and the colony eventually disappears,” she told AAP.

“If we were to experience a Varroa mite incursion here in Australia and a subsequent outbreak, we would expect at least two-thirds to decrease in the first few years in colony numbers.

“We are very, very confident that they have indeed eradicated the pest from the area, but as we say, it’s not if it’s going to happen again, it’s a when.”

As Secretary of State for QBA, she says the threat of dust mites can cripple an industry imperative for the success of agriculture and horticulture across Australia.

In Queensland, the beekeeping industry contributes $ 2.4 billion a year to the economy, while providing $ 14.2 billion nationally.

The state’s commercial beekeeping farms are found primarily in the Southern Downs region and the Great Dividing Range, but extend as far as Ayr in northern Queensland.

But while the QBA is confident that business entities and authorities are present, concerns now revolve around casual beekeepers.

Ms. Martin believes that with the adoption of backyard beekeeping since the start of the pandemic, there are those who are not so gentle with the threat of pests and communicable diseases.

“It is not only these high risk ports, but it is the beekeepers who are in adjacent areas who may not be as up to date as possible on their knowledge and awareness of pests and diseases,” he said. she declared.

“If they don’t complete these regular checks or alcohol washes to spot varroa mites in particular, they might be missing out.

“All we need is a bee with a mite on its back that could wipe out this industry.

Associated Australian Press

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