A Mid North Coast beekeeper says she is scared and fearful about the future of the honey industry if the varroa mite continues to spread.
On Sunday, June 26 a statewide emergency order came into effect at 6pm, to halt the movement of bees across NSW and stop the spread of varroa mite.
The order was issued after varroa mite was first detected at the Port of Newcastle on Friday, June 24.
According to NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), varroa infects honey bees in every major beekeeping area of the world, except Australia. It will kill any bee hive it infects if left untreated.
Ana Martin and her partner Sven live at a property at Johns River, where they produce raw honey.
She said if the mite does spread, beekeepers will have to spend more and change their practices to ensure they can continue honey production.
Ana and Sven look after their bees in the most natural way possible, but may be forced to use chemicals if the mite spreads.
"We produce raw honey and don't use any chemicals with the bees," she said.
"We place hives in areas which are free of pesticides.
"Now we have a situation where we might have to treat with chemicals, whether we like it or not, in order for our hives to survive."
Ana is urging beekeepers to comply with the order implemented by NSW DPI.
"Already [the mite being in] NSW is too close for comfort," she said.
According to AgriFutures, one third of Australian food that ends up on plates is dependent on honey bee pollination.
NSW DPI estimates the varroa mite could result in losses of $70 million a year if it becomes established in Australia.
"If varroa mite settles in the state, it will have severe consequences, so we're taking every precaution and action needed to contain the parasite and protect the local honey industry and pollination," Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said.
NSW DPI is investigating potentially contaminated hives outside the initial 50 kilometre biosecurity zone at the Port of Newcastle.
A 50km biosecurity zone is still in place around the Port of Newcastle and beekeepers within that area must also notify the NSW DPI of the locations of their hives.
A 25km surveillance zone is also still active around the site, where officials are monitoring and inspecting managed and feral honey bees to limit the extent of the incursion.
A 10km emergency zone around the Port remains in place, where eradication plans will be enacted to treat hives.
Mr Saunders said the department is working with apiary industry bodies and stakeholders to ensure beekeepers are well informed and can continue to assist with the critical response.
The mites are tiny reddish-brown parasites and are easily identifiable to the naked eye.
People who have bee hives located within the 50km biosecurity zone are being asked to notify DPI of their location by calling 1800 084 881.
Alternatively, they can complete a the form via the website https://forms.bfs.dpi.nsw.gov.au/forms/9247 or email email@example.com
For more information visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa
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