Much of NSW declared free of varroa mite

States and territories will reopen their borders to bees from most of NSW for the first time since an outbreak of varroa mite was detected in Newcastle in June last year.

In what has been described as a major milestone for Aussie beekeepers, the NSW emergency blue zone has been declared free of the invasive mite.

Red and purple zones remain in place in areas surrounding Newcastle where beekeepers are still required to maintain close surveillance on the health of their hives and regularly report to authorities.

NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders said other states will reopen in the coming weeks for the transfer of bees and hives from the Blue Zone across borders for pollination.

"This is a significant step in the fight to eradicate the mite, and for our beekeepers and pollination-reliant industries that have done it tough over the past seven months," Mr Saunders said.

"But this is not the time for complacency; now more than ever, we need beekeepers to make sure they continue to do the right thing and maintain their alcohol-wash surveillance so we continue to move in the right direction."

NSW will work with South Australia, Victoria and Queensland to develop a set of conditions governing interstate movement.

Australian Honeybee Industry Council chief executive Danny Le Feuvre said the news added to confidence that the eradication of varroa mite in NSW was possible.

"While the industry will continue to be impacted by the varroa mite's incursion, endorsement of this paper is a critical step forward in achieving business continuity, as best we can, for the industry," he said.

In November last year a fresh outbreak of varroa mite was detected at a property near Cessnock, prompting an expansion of the existing red zone, which applies to all hives within a 10km radius of an infected premises.

Those within the red zone are required to destroy their hives completely to stop the spread of varroa mite.

A purple zone, applying to hives within a 15km radius beyond the red zone, were considered part of the emergency surveillance zone.

All other parts of the state were deemed blue zones and were also under tight restrictions in terms of transporting hives.

NSW has roughly 13,000 registered commercial and recreational beekeepers.