Permit system eases NSW 'bee lockdown'

·1-min read

Commercial beekeepers can move hives if they are located in low risk areas of NSW as the state continues to battle the varroa mite.

The mite, which was first identified during routine surveillance at the Port of Newcastle on 22 June, has been found across 40-odd properties in NSW.

Some 1570 hives have been euthanised, with more than 15 million bees destroyed.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries said while a statewide standstill of hives still applies, movement from the general biosecurity emergency zone is being allowed under a permit-based system.

"We have opened a safe and traceable way to allow the crucial movement of honeybees and apiary equipment and allow for the honey and pollination season to get underway while minimising risk of any further spread," DPI Chief Plant Protection Officer Dr Satendra Kumar said.

The NSW Apiarists' Association President Steve Fuller welcomed the Hive Movement Declaration, saying it would cushion the blow for honey producers who have had stocks affected in recent weeks.

"It's getting beekeepers moving forward again," the beekeeper and pollinator with more than four decades of experience told AAP on Wednesday.

"We've done almost 3000 negative results and that means it's showing a handle of where the mite is.

"We've had a few minor incursions in Northern Queensland which we successfully eradicated up there, and in Melbourne a little while ago off the sea, but not an infestation like this before."

Each hive contains anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 bees.

There was an estimated 315,100 bee hives in NSW before the mite was detected.

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