They found Varroa in Australia! Townsville

Just heard on the radio the other day that Verroa was discovered in a feral hive of Asian honey bees in Townsville. Let’s hope they manage to eradicate them. Out of interest: once Varroa does get a foothold into Australia: how long could we expect it take to spread across the entire continent? Are there any environments/areas where it won’t take hold- I imagine not as it has spread over the entire world? Are there any types of environment where it is more of an issue? Ie Tropical, etc.

1 Like

The good news is that species of varroa does not readily move from Apis Cerana to Mellifera so we are relatively safe for now.

I guess we should ask our U.S. counterparts that question. Varroa doesn’t have wings so my guess is “not as fast as Small Hive Beetle” which came to Australia in the year 2000. SHB was only recently found to be in SA but has not yet reached WA or Tasmania


Yes, we read about that here a couple of weeks ago.
Keep safe![quote=“Rodderick, post:2, topic:7853”]
I guess we should ask our U.S. counterparts that question. Varroa doesn’t have wings so my guess is “not as fast as Small Hive Beetle” which came to Australia in the year 2000.

Varroa is easily spread in package bees so geography is no barrier. How common are packages in Australia?

Very, and they are sent all over the globe.

1 Like

You mentioned Tasmania as being a place where Varroa wouldn’t ‘take hold’, is that because of it being an island & quarantine/import regulations?

I wonder if they will put prohibitions on moving packages between states once Varroa arrives? My guess is- they would. It seems that could slow the spread quite a bit. We have been doing that with fruit in SA for years now to keep down fruit fly.

Kangaroo Island may also be a bit of an anti Varroa sanctuary as they already have a ban on importing any bee products.

1 Like

Tasmania are very good with their Quarantine and having a sea that cuts off the mainland sure helps. Importing mainland honey is strictly controlled whereas honey from Tasmania to mainland Australia has no restricitions.
Saying that, there has been some silly decisions made over the years… such as… importing bumblebees to pollinate crops in hothouses, inevitably some escaped and now bumble bees are found over most of Tasmania.

1 Like

Kangaroo Island has the same restrictions- perhaps even more so as it was the Worlds First Bee Sanctuary.

My mum just made a trip to Tassie- she said the bumblebees were enormous! I’ve always wanted to see a bumblebee…


I think it’s the ‘wild’ colonies which are going to be an issue, if there’s any ‘introduction’ /transfer of compatible Varroa species.

1 Like

As i understand it, they’ve banned bee movements around townsville. I was reading a queen breeder’s comments… saying the restrictions could impact him significantly but he was glad they are in place.

1 Like

How did New Zealand deal with it when varroa first arrived?

We have a wonderful “system” in the US to spread diseases and pests as quickly as possible. We move 3/4 of all the bees in North America to one little valley in California. We put them there before anything is blooming and they rob and drift like crazy. Then after the almonds start blooming they move them into the almonds and when they are done they disperse them back to the four corners of North America. So here, it would take a year or less to have it almost everywhere and another year or two to fill in any gaps that got missed. Hopefully you don’t have such a wonderful “system”…

1 Like

@Michael_Bush I just watched this excellent (and saddening) documentary Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us which I am sure you have seen. The scale of the California Almond industry and man-made bee ‘migration’ is astounding.

I wonder if you have heard of “One Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka? I am sure that book would have massive applicability to beekeeping. In fact I have just decided to reread and apply all it’s wisdom to my new beekeeping plans…

Surely in California they could come up with some integrated farm system that incorporated bees in a better more permanent way… Instead they are probably researching self replicating nano-drones for pollination…


Yes, I think they are pursuing the self pollinating almond and the "nano-drone"s rather than any kind of integration.

Actually Michael, we are not much better. Half the country here migrate hives to the almonds too, then migrate to 3 other states.

Yeah that just makes me sick how they do this…it has to be hard on the hives. I am so new, but to me that seems uncaring to the bees to do this :frowning:

They can’t make Almonds without bees…

True enough, but I always wonder why they wouldn’t have a local bee community year-round. Ohhh well I have much to learn.

I don’t disagree. But one way or another they need bees to get almonds. If I were an almond grower I would either hire a person who know almonds and bees to keep my hives for me or learn to be a beekeeper. Why pay $150 a hive to have them trucked all over the country? But then you would have to leave things growing between the trees, which they don’t, so that would require changing your way of growing almonds…


You should check out the latest from AHBIC
It was not Varroa Destructor

Benedict Hughes
The Practical Beekeeper

1 Like