All WA beekeepers, whether commercial or hobby, have been urged to be extra vigilant in monitoring and checking their hives after the discovery of the devastating varroa mite near Newcastle in NSW.
Bee Industry Council of WA chair Brendon Fewster said the discovery of the mite in Australia had long been feared given the dire outcomes for honey and agricultural industries overseas where it has wreaked havoc in bee colonies.
“It is vital and also a legal requirement that all managed bee hives are registered with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development,” Mr Fewster said. “Effective biosecurity measures require the Department to know who owns hives, how to contact them, and quickly determine where hives are located.
“Monitoring hives for bee health is very important. New beekeepers unsure of what to look for can find useful information on the BICWA website and by joining an apiary association to access education and training.
“This outbreak reinforces the message that biosecurity is the responsibility of everyone in the industry, big or small. Agriculture, pollination and food production as we know it will be devastated if the mite takes hold and spreads. It is not just commercial beekeepers who will lose their livelihood.
“I’d urge everyone involved in beekeeping to register with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development if they haven't already and to join BICWA. BICWA membership is free for all registered beekeepers and will help to ensure that they can keep up to date with the latest information.
“We are fortunate in WA that distance is providing a natural biosecurity border, but somehow the mite has made its way from overseas into NSW and has spread rapidly in other parts of the world. There is absolutely no reason why we couldn't see a similar event occur here in WA” Mr Fewster said.
The varroa mite is parasitic and feeds on the blood of adult and larval bees. Infestations build up over time and cause the bees to become crippled, impairing flight and reducing lifespan, which eventually kills the entire colony.
For more information on BICWA membership contact email@example.com
For registration information call 1300929547, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Google beekeeper hive registration.
BICWA secretary 0458 212 528