No further varroa mites found at Townsville Port since May 2019

Response activities are continuing following the detection of varroa mites on an Asian honey bee nest at the Port of Townsville in May 2019.

The Asian honey bee nest was located and destroyed on 16 May 2019 and found as a result of bee lining activities where foraging bees are tracked.

The mites were sent to the CSIRO’s laboratory in Canberra for identification to species level, with results confirming Varroa jacobsoni.

Biosecurity Queensland is continuing its heightened surveillance activities at the Townsville port area, and further out in the Townsville local government area.

To date there have been no further detections of Asian honey bee or varroa mite.

The Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP) has met to discuss this detection and determined that based on the evidence, this incident is considered technically feasible to eradicate.

The committee is considering a response plan that has been put forward by Biosecurity Queensland, which is the lead agency responding to this incident, supported by the Australian Department of Agriculture.

Genetic testing indicates this Asian honey bee detection is not related to any previous incidents in Australia, including those present in Cairns, or subject to the current national eradication program underway in Townsville.

In relation to the 2016 Townsville varroa mite detection, the national eradication program is on track for declaring this infestation eradicated in August 2019, providing no further Varroa mites relating to this detection are found.

The Asian honey bee is approximately 10mm long with yellow and black stripes on the abdomen. Click for link to more information about the Asian honey bee: Fact Sheet.

Port and transport workers are encouraged to be on the look-out and report suspect bees that may have come in on cargo via the See. Secure. Report hotline on 1800 798 636.

The general public can report suspect Asian honey bee detections to the national Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Townsville bee keepers are asked to be especially vigilant in reporting any suspect Asian honey bee sightings and/or varroa mite detections.

Information about bee biosecurity and photos that will help identify varroa mite and Asian honey bee are available on the Bee Aware website at or the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.

2019 Australian Honey Bee Industry Council Annual Report

2019 Annual Report

B-Qual Australia June 2019 Newsletter

Download the B-Qual Australia June 2019 Newsletter here (PDF 1MB)

Media Release: Healthy Forests, Bees & People

Healthy Forests, Healthy Bees, Healthy People

The Australian Honey Bee Industry Council has expressed concern over the misrepresentation of its views about sustainable forest management, which benefits the community at large.

Peter McDonald, Chair of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) said:

Despite reports in The Guardian, the beekeeping industry wishes to work collaboratively with the forestry industry and state governments to ensure access to resources in state forests. ALL values and uses of the forests need to be recognised throughout Australia.

We intend to educate members of various state governments that access to multi age and mixed species in well managed forests is vital for both honey production and bee health before the pollination season, which varies from crop to crop, where bees are essential for productive crops and food security.

The beekeeping industry is open to discussion about ways to improve the management of forests for the benefit of all forest uses, including both forestry and beekeeping.

Policy makers need to understand that about 70 per cent of our honey is produced from native eucalypts in our forests.

The beekeeping industry appreciates being able to use current forestry infrastructure such as roads to access beekeeping sites.

We support the comments made by Minister Littleproud in response to the misrepresentation by The Guardian and understand he has re-iterated the importance of the beekeeping industry being a part of the Regional Forest Agreement process. All values and uses need to be recognised in perpetuity through the RFA process.

If you want a glimpse of the disaster that awaits our beekeeping industry and Australia’s food security as a consequence, we only have to look at Queensland which is facing the potential loss of about 1,180 bee sites by 2024 as a result of excluding our legitimate forest use. This number will be far greater with further planned forestry conversion into National Parks.

Poor access and massive fuel loads to feed wildfires are unfortunately the hallmarks of unmanaged forests and none of these issues are conducive to healthy beekeeping.

Well managed multi-use forests involving forestry, beekeeping, and recreation will always deliver the best conservation, economic and social outcomes.” 2 April 2019

Media Contacts:
Peter McDonald: 0427 722 167
Sarah Paradice: 0402 467 780

Download the media release here (PDF 164KB)

B-Qual Australia March 2019 Newsletter

Download the B-Qual Australia March 2019 Newsletter here (PDF 1MB)

Return to top of page

Copyright © 2021
Terms and Conditions