50km Varroa Mite notification zone lifted

The current eradication (red) and surveillance zones (purple) for the Varroa Mite. Photo: Department of Primary Industries.

THE 50km yellow Varroa mite notification zones, located outside the emergency surveillance and eradication zones, have been officially lifted, allowing beekeepers to move their honeybees and hives in more parts of the State.

Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the decision shows the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is confident about tracking where Varroa mite has travelled.

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“Through stringent tracing and surveillance operations, field teams have determined the limit of natural spread around each of the infected premises (IPs),” Mr Saunders said.

“There are 2,398 hives across 466 premises that have been sampled in the notification zones and have returned negative results, giving us confidence there is no longer a need for them.”

Studies show bees usually only fly up to 5km distances or potentially up to 10km in unfavourable conditions, therefore the risk of a bee flying from an IP to a notification zone is very low and realistically would not occur.

“Thorough research and testing shows the risk of spread within a yellow zone is no different to that of the statewide blue zone, so these yellow areas will be dissolved and will now fall under the same rules as the general emergency zone,” Mr Saunders said.

“This is great news for the 3,711 known beekeeping premises in the notification area, allowing them to apply for a Hive Movement Declaration which will ensure business continuity and support the State’s $20.9b primary industries sector.”

Of the total premises in the yellow notification zones, 277 are commercial and 3,434 are recreational.

Although there have been changes to the notification zone, the existing rules remain in place for the 10km red eradication zones and the 25km purple surveillance zones.

Red eradication zones include hotspots of Nerong, Raymond Terrace, Medowie, Salt Ash, Fern Bay, Bundabah, Corlette and Anna Bay, whilst the purple surveillance zones include the Port Stephens and MidCoast regions.


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