There have been nine new cases of the varroa mite infestation that have been identified across the New South Wales Central Coast and Hunter regions. The regions that are affected include Glen William, Brookfield, Sawyers Gully, Yarramalong, Horsfield Bay, Woy Woy, Koolewong, and Umina Beach. Due to the spread, the eradication zone of the state's Central Coast has been extended.

If the hives aren't destroyed, the mite infestation will have a detrimental impact on the agriculture industry, affecting the pollination of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, avocados and macadamias.

What are Varroa mites?

Varroa mites are tiny red brown pests that affect honey bees, with the females measuring around 1.1mm long while the males are slightly smaller. They can feed on adult honey bees as well as larvae and pupae in the bee colony, transmitting viruses and causing malformation and weakening of the honey bees. The mites are spread by drone bees who are infected and then move the mites from hive to hive. They are then transferred through contact between bees.

According to Plant Health Australia, heavy Varroa mite infestations can cause scattered brood, crippled and crawling honey bees, a reduction in honey bee population and ultimate colony breakdown and death of the hive. Beekeepers should be on alert and should inspect their hives regularly for signs of Varroa mites.

Detection Methods

Some examples of detection methods that beekeepers can use include:

Beekeepers must report notifiable diseases such as an infestation of Varroa mites to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

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All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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