Ever-widening net cast in hunt for Varroa mite

AGRICULTURE Victoria has widened its permit system for moving bees to include anyone bringing bees or bee products into any part of the state to further safeguard the industry against Varroa mite.

It includes anyone bringing bees, hives, queen bees, used beekeeping equipment and bee products, including pollen and honeycomb into any part of Victoria from any state or territory.

Permits will not be granted for movement from New South Wales.

Victorian chief plant health officer Rosa Crnov said the widening brings the state’s permit system in line with other states and territories, including South Australia and Queensland.

Victorian-registered beekeepers will be able to move their hives out of Sunraysia to other parts of the state without a permit, providing they are registered on BeeMax.

BeeMax allows beekeepers to register their bee movements.

Dr Crnov said the new permit system, combined with beekeeper registration requirements and the BeeMax system would provide confidence in delivering safe pollination across the state.

“A permit system was required for the Sunraysia given the huge volume of hives coming from across the country just as Varroa mite was detected in New South Wales,” Dr Crnov said.

“We are confident given the smaller number of hives required for pollination from now on that the existing BeeMax system will give us the information we need for tracking and tracing in the event of a Varroa detection in Victoria.

“Currently Victoria remains free of Varroa mite and in the event of a detection, Agriculture Victoria will undertake appropriate risk-management actions to respond.”

Almond pollination is expected to start winding down in Sunraysia by early September and bees will be needed to pollinate other crops.

This includes crops growun in Swan Hill and the Goulburn Valley and seed canola, mustard and clover crops in the Wimmera.

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