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Bee hive surveillance west of Barraba

By Jane Harris

The biosecurity threat to bees, Varroa mite, has been detected in the Narrabri region, resulting in hives west of Barraba being assessed for the pest. Parts of the Barraba area are within the 25km surveillance zone, where officials are monitoring and inspecting managed and feral honeybees to limit the extent of the parasites’ incursions. In addition, parts of the Barraba area are within the 50km biosecurity zone and beekeepers within this area must notify NSW DPI of the locations of their hives. The zones are measured as the crow flies. Zone information can be found at

In July the NSW Department of Primary Industries detected Varroa mite in biosecurity surveillance hives of bees at the Port of Newcastle. More recently an infected hive was detected near Narrabri. The NSW DPI is working to eradicate the parasite in NSW to protect the NSW honeybee industry.

NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders says, “Australia is the only major honey producing country free from Varroa mite and if it has the chance to establish here, it could cost the honey industry more than $70 million a year.”

Acting Chief Plant Protection Officer, Dr Chris Anderson said NSW DPI biosecurity officers have been working with local beekeepers in and around Narrabri, since the infested premises was located in the area earlier this week.

All known hives in the zone have been sampled and planning is underway for the ongoing surveillance of hives in the Narrabri region, using sticky traps and miticide strips. The DPI says Narrabri is in the front line of efforts to stop Varroa mite and they encourage all beekeepers within the Narrabri 10km, 25km and 50 km biosecurity zones to continue to report their hives by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline, 1800 084 881.

Officers are visiting hives near Barraba which are within the surveillance zone to check for infestation. Community members are encouraged to make sure they are registered as beekeepers with the DPI and that their details are up-to-date. Property owners hosting hives on their farms can also get in touch with the Hotline to advise on the location of the hives.

DPI Exotic Plant Pest Hotline: 1800 084 881.