GPA is continuing to work with Plant Health Australia and other biosecurity officials, to monitor the Varroa mite detection in NSW and understand any potential impacts on the grains industry.
A statewide emergency order has been issued by NSW Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders to control the movement of honeybees (Apis mellifera) across NSW and stop the spread of varroa mite (Varroa destructor).
The Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests has been meeting to discuss the detection and response actions.
The CCEPP provides technical and scientific advice in response to exotic plant pest and disease incursions.
The Committee is chaired by Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer and comprises the Chief Plant Health Managers from each state and territory, other specialists from government, PHA, and representatives from affected industries such as GPA.
For this incident, affected industries that are signatories to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed include the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council and a number of pollination-reliant industries, including:
o Almond Board of Australia
o Apple and Pear Australia
o Australian Lychee Growers Association
o Australian Macadamia Society
o Australian Mango Industry Association
o Australian Melon Association
o Avocados Australia
o Canned Fruit Industry Council of Australia
o Cherry Growers of Australia
o Grain Producers Australia
o Passionfruit Australia
o Raspberries and Blackberries Australia
o Strawberries Australia
o Summerfruit Australia
The Varroa mite is not established in Australia. Australia is one of the few countries in the world to remain free of varroa mite. The varroa mite attacks European honeybees and is considered the greatest threat to Australia's honey production and honey bee pollination in plant industries. It is a Category 3 Emergency Plant Pest under Schedule 13 of the Deed. This means that the eradication response costs will be shared between government and industries (50:50). Australian grain producers contribute 1.02 per cent of their crop sale value towards funding certain industry activities, as per the following: GRDC (0.99pc), PHA (0.01pc), NRS (0.015pc) and EPPR (0.005pc).
Previous investment by GRDC and RIRDC (now Agrifutures) has shown that pollination by the European honeybee can provide crop yield improvements of between 10-30% in some pulse and oilseed crops. Honeybee pollination services provide significant yield improvements for sunflowers and faba beans, (GRDC ABE00001; RIRDC Pollination Aware Raising awareness of undervalued services 2009)
Beekeepers are encouraged to inspect their hives for signs of varroa mite and other exotic pests. If you suspect your bees may have been affected, phone the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. This will put you in touch with your state or territory’s biosecurity agency.
For more information visit Here
BeeAware Pollination Information Grain Crops Here