Important Notice Varroa Mite Incursion Update

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Chair’s Report

19 October 2022

The CEO and I have attended a two day webinar training course titled Making Decisions Under Pressure.  The course was funded by DAFF and coordinated by PHA.  A worthwhile course […]


The CEO and I have attended a two day webinar training course titled Making Decisions Under Pressure.  The course was funded by DAFF and coordinated by PHA.  A worthwhile course that helps one recognize the pressures and our personal history that may be influencing our decision making.

The baiting of feral hives in the red zones which is the next stage of the varroa incursion response has started.  This gives industry confidence that varroa can be eradicated.  Given the accessibility of some of the country for feral hive baiting it will not be an easy task.

Rural Assistant Authority are processing beekeeper claims and making payments.  Some beekeepers are claiming for higher rates than is in the schedule as is there right.  AHBIC along with RAA are detailing what evidence is required to support these higher claims before the higher reimbursement rates will be accepted and paid.

AHBIC is very aware that many beekeepers are suffering losses through no fault of their own.  Ones such as queen breeders, pollinators that could not travel to their orchards and those in the purple zone.  Not to mention those that have their sheds in one zone and bees in another zone or bees in two zones.  The PHA deed that AHBIC signed up to is very specific as to the rules around the owner reimbursement of costs.  Unfortunately ORC’s are not available activities such as commercial queen breeders and those that have foregone pollination contracts.

AHBIC has lobbied hard to get compensation for those beekeepers in the purple zone and recreational beekeepers.  The National Management Group has finally approved an increased budget (total recreational costs) for recreational beekeepers and also for Owner Reimbursement Costs (ORC) for those beekeepers in the purple zone.  AHBIC is lobbying hard to have these purple zone ORC payments to be made as soon as possible – limited DPI manpower is slowing this payment process down.

AHBIC has been successful in a grant application for a Varroa Coordinator.  The executive has determined the way forward with this and recruitment will start shortly with the position to be filled in the coming months.

Purchase of Surveillance hives to be used in the red eradication zone to prove that the baiting method will kill hives was done by DPI. AHBIC had no influence on the purchase process or who DPI purchased these hives from.

The VARROA RESPONSE is beyond 100 days now.  NSW DPI are close to finalizing a plan to present to the CCEPP and ultimately the NMG for approval that covers the next two years.  The current plan will continue until the next plan is approved or not approved.

The Levy Sub Committee that was set up at the AGM recently met.  Plan is to have recommendations to AHBIC member bodies well before the next AGM.

AHBIC and DPI were exploring an option to use nucleus hives to provide pollination for rubus crops in the Coffs area red and purple zones.  Nucs would have been euthanized at end of pollination.  However due to circumstances this did not happen and those rubus crops will not be pollinated this spring by managed honey bees.  Hopefully we can have plans in place to provide pollination to rubus crops for their late summer flowering.

Please be careful with all this wet weather.

Cheers

Stephen Targett

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