The Varroa mite's march continues across NSW and some apiarists believe the time has come to move from containment, which they believe has not worked, to self management.
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With 11 new detections at Kempsey, two at Tamworth, two more detections in the Sunraysia region and on Tuesday another at Cuttabri, near Narrabri, the total number of infected premises has risen to 250.
The most recent case detected in the Central West was just near Molong in July.
NSW Department of Primary Industries has declared the new detections can all be traced to the Kempsey cluster and believes its surveillance and traceability is working.
Harold Saxvik of Saxvik Honey and Pollination Services, Duncan Point, south of Griffith, said it was time to abandon containment and move to management.
As well as having 1000 hives of his own bees, Mr Saxvik is a pollination broker, organising contracts for between 35,000 and 40,000 hives each year.
He believes the initial containment response was suited to the localised outbreak, but now that infestation has spread, he believes the plan needs to change.
"We were all in favour of the eradication of the Varroa mite when it first appeared in June 2023 in the Port of Newcastle," Mr Saxvik said.
"But now thousands of hives have been euthanised and still Varroa mite is advancing to different areas in the state.
"To the majority of professional commercial apiarists, it is out of control. The mite has now expanded up the east coast of NSW and out to the south-west areas of the state.
"You also need to take into account the feral hives that live in the environment, it is impossible to overcome.
"I cannot understand why we are still euthanising beehives metres away from feral hives found in the bush.
"It is time to let the professional commercial apiarists be allowed to fulfil their contracts with their pollination commitments and be allowed to pursue honey production. We need to move into self-management of our apiaries.
"There are countries like America and and Canada who have been dealing with Varroa for a little while now, and they've basically shown that it can still work.
"We all know that Varroa mite has been and is going to continue to be a challenge to our industry, but the professional commercial apiarist and hobby farmers will overcome this."
Mr Saxvik said he had heard conflicting reports on whether hives would be eradicated or not.
There are thousands of hives in the southern eradication zones with talk among some apiarists of setting up blockades to stop the killing of their bees.
"That will start happening if some big places are selected for euthanising," he said.
"I am hearing conflicting reports from the DPI with someone saying they are going to eradicate 5000 hives in one spot and then they say they might not eradicate."
My Saxvik said other than the mite itself, his biggest concern has been the lack of information from the DPI.
"One of the main issues we are having is we don't know what's happened from one day to the next," he said.
"We've been trying to ring the DPI hotline all the time and just not getting through. I suppose a lot of people are trying to get on it.
Mr Saxvik has been providing pollination services for more than 40 years and said wild bees are always present at flowering.
"I have noticed each year that the properties are already covered by feral bees from the front to the back of the orchards when the managed hives are introduced," he said.
Last Friday, the national body of government and industry experts advising the Varroa mite eradication program green lit a plan to move beehives in eradication zones in southern NSW.
NSW DPI chief plant protection officer Shane Hetherington said the area was hosting the largest concentration of managed European honeybee hives in Australia to provide pollination services for almond orchards.
"Recent tracing of beehives moved from Varroa mite emergency eradication (red) zones in the Kempsey region led to the identification of infested premises at Euston, Balranald, Euroley and Nericon," he said.
"The creation of red and surveillance (purple) zones centred on those sites would normally prevent the further movement of all hives in those areas.
"However, floral resources are rapidly declining as the flowering period finishes and that creates an escalating biosecurity risk, as bees will naturally start to look for other food sources potentially leading to bee swarming or robbing behaviour.
"Due to the sheer numbers of hives in the region, it's therefore imperative that we quickly move them out of the area to more plentiful food sources or we risk the likelihood of the bees travelling further afield and potentially spreading the Varroa mite."
Mr Saxvik said his nephew had applied for a permit and was still waiting to receive the ok to move his hives.
"Almond plantations need the beehives removed so the farms can keep on operating, at the moment this isn't happening," he said.
"Thousands of hives are needed on seed canola, melons, prunes, plums, cherries, onions, radish, and the list goes on.
"We are worried as brokers for the almond industry that apiarists will think twice about coming to almonds in fear of the same situation occurring next year."
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