Australia abandons efforts to eradicate deadly parasite varroa mite after 15 months

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Founder Member
Semi Commercial
This is going to cost Ozzy beekeepers more than they ever dreamed possible.

I also think they could have won the war, but they went about it wrong.

They actually burned the infected hives. All that was really needed was to kill the bees, and within a week or so all varroa would have been dead, and the hives could have been restocked. But burning the hives caused beekeeper resistance, people sneaking hives out of infected areas to "save" them, not reporting, etc.

My view, they should have clamped down much harder about hives in infected areas, all hives in infected areas should have been killed, not just the ones where mites were found in an alcohol wash. Then after a wait time the hives should have been restocked with new bees from elsewhere. Had they done that, in my view the problem would already have been sorted.

Now, the beekeepers who moaned and grizzled and caused non compliance with the program, are going to find out just what they will have to deal with. Mites are now more resistant to treatments than they were back when they arrived here in NZ. We had an easier time learning the ropes, when all you did was put some strips in the hives and problem sorted. Combine the mite resistance with no experience dealing with mites, next several years expect massive losses in Australia. Will be interesting to watch.


Founder Member
Nelson/Tasman District
I don’t know I think varroa in wild hives would have been something they couldn’t sort .
It seems like varroa rather than originating at the port originated s9me where else and spread to to port.

From what I’ve read they think varroa has been in that state for a lot longer than first thought.
Hawkes Bay
Varoa, small hive beetle and European foul brood. Australian beekeepers are looking at increased costs, increased workloads and every year you have varoa it gets just a little bit worse.Eradication at any cost would still be far cheaper in the long term.
I can't believe they burnt hives. Could have gassed them and kept them in cold storage.
My message to Australian beekeepers would be that you can live with varoa but they all need to have a close look at what they are doing and whether living with varoa will cripple them financially. Keeping bees with varoa can sometimes feel like death by a thousand cuts.