Safeguards to protect Victoria’s bees
Victorian and interstate beekeepers will have to apply for a permit to move hives into the Sunraysia region for this year’s almond pollination season to help protect the state’s bees from the devastating varroa mite.
The changes will come into effect immediately and will impact the movement of bees, hives, used beekeeping equipment and bee products.
Processed honey, wax, new beekeeping tools and equipment are exempt and can be transported freely into and within Victoria.
Beekeepers must also obtain a permit for the movement of any bees, hives, used beekeeping equipment and bee products into Victoria if they were in NSW at any time after January 1, 2022. This also applies if they have recently relocated to another state or territory.
Victoria’s deputy chief plant health officer Stephen Dibley said the new measures provided assurance for the almond industry leading into pollination and would help with contact tracing if varroa is detected in Victoria.
“The permit system helps ensure the almond pollination can proceed in a manner that won’t jeopardise Victoria’s bees,” Dr Dibley said.
“If you plan to take beehives to the Sunraysia region from any location, please visit the Agriculture Victoria website and apply for a permit.”
Applications from NSW will be assessed once the current standstill in NSW has lifted.
These restrictions are to safeguard Victoria’s bees from varroa mite, which has been detected in NSW.
Varroa mite is a serious threat to Australia’s bee population and horticultural industries that rely on pollination.
Restrictions on bee movements to control and manage this threat have come at a critical time for Sunraysia almond producers, with about 277,000 hives needed to pollinate their crops in August, about half of which usually come from NSW and Queensland.
Victoria’s bee movement restrictions are in addition to the restrictions in NSW and other states.
Dr Dibley said although the Victorian permit system would help protect bees during this busy time, Victorian beekeepers should stay vigilant.
“Check your hives for varroa mite if the weather is appropriate, and if you see anything suspicious, please report it immediately to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.”
For more information or to apply for a permit, visit: agriculture.vic.gov.au/varroa