Another eradication zone has been set up in NSW to contain the deadly Varroa mite. At the same time, compensation package details are being worked out for commercial beekeepers whose hives and bees are being destroyed.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries has confirmed it has established a new emergency zone at a building in Calgary, about 100 kilometers south of Newcastle, in response to confirmed detections of the mite.
Acting chief plant protection officer Chris Anderson says emergency zones are now around nine contaminated buildings.
“DPI has taken significant steps to counter the spread of the threat and is assisted by the beekeeping, Local Land Services (LLS), NSW Police, NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), and the wider community,” he said. Thursday.
“Until now, many of the contaminated buildings have been very close together, so emergency zones have largely covered the same areas, but recent detections in Bulahdelah and Calga have expanded the area.”
NSW Agriculture Secretary Dugald Saunders said commercial beekeepers will be compensated for equipment, hives, and bees destroyed as authorities try to contain the mite. Still, there are no plans at this stage to cover lost revenue.
The minister said details should be discussed in the coming week, but recreational beekeepers have no compensation.
“We know that recreational beekeepers will play a big role in helping to prevent the further spread of Varroa mites,” he said.
“They are not included in the current compensation agreements. We are looking at what support we can offer them if needed.”
Another detection zone 😔 #Calga #varroamite @ABCRural pic.twitter.com/5P2qhdoXcX
— Amelia Bernasconi (@millbernasconi) June 30, 2022
Mr. Saunders urged beekeepers to report their hives, whether registered or not and said those not already on the list would not be punished.
“There will be no fines,” he said.
About 600 hives containing at least six million bees have been destroyed as long as NSW continues its efforts to contain the outbreak.
The minister said the number could double or triple before the mite is contained.
There are extermination zones from Newcastle in the north to Seaham, and another around Bulahdelah, with the last one in the south at Calga.
The NSW and federal agriculture ministers met on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the response to the discovery of the mite, which was first discovered in Newcastle harbor last week.
About 440 beekeepers have been affected, which will increase with the last Eradication Zone set.
Consumers are encouraged to buy locally.
Danny Le Feuvre, acting director of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, told AAP that a surplus of honey has led to no price increases from the eradication program, but he encouraged consumers to buy locally.
“Right now, buying Australian honey is the best thing people can do to help the industry,” he said.
“There is a significant amount of imported honey on the shelves.”
Authorities in NSW remain optimistic that the plague can still be eradicated.
A ban preventing beekeepers from moving or tending their bees remains in effect in NSW.
No beekeeping equipment may be moved anywhere in the state, and no honey or honeycomb may be removed from beehives.
Hives should not be touched unless supervised for varroa mites or as directed by an NSW Department of Primary Industries officer.
On Thursday, Victoria and Queensland joined forces with South Australia to prevent NSW bee products and related equipment from entering their jurisdictions.