Important Notice Varroa Mite Incursion Update

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What is the National Bee Biosecurity Program?

19 October 2022

The aim of the National Bee Biosecurity Program (NBBP) is to help beekeepers to manage pests that are already in Australia, and to prepare for incursions by exotic pests. Generally […]


The aim of the National Bee Biosecurity Program (NBBP) is to help beekeepers to manage pests that are already in Australia, and to prepare for incursions by exotic pests.

Generally speaking, Australian governments focus on pre-border and at-the-border biosecurity, pest surveillance activities and emergency pest or disease incursions. The honey bee industry and individual beekeepers are responsible for managing established pests and checking for exotic ones.

As a result, the beekeeping industry has established a levy to pay for biosecurity activities, and has developed a Code of Practice for all beekeepers to follow.

To help beekeepers to implement biosecurity measures and to ensure that they are complying with the code and relevant legislation, Bee Biosecurity Officers are employed within six state departments of primary industry. The biosecurity officers are there to provide training and education.

Who are your BBOs?

Jurisdiction BBO Email contact Ph. contact
QLD Dave Schlipalius dave.schlipalius@daf.qld.gov.au Main: +61(7) 3708 8367

Mobile: 0436 858838

NSW Rod Bourke rod.bourke@dpi.nsw.gov.au Main: 02 4939 8946

Mobile: 0438 677 195

TAS Karla Williams karla.williams@nre.tas.gov.au

 

Reception: 03 6165 3750

Mobile: 0407 436 230

VIC Ally Driessen ally.driessen@agriculture.vic.gov.au Mobile: 0436 819 350
SA Samantha Grund samantha.grund@sa.gov.au Main: 08 8214 6021

Mobile: 0439 864 382

WA Jessica Bikaun jessica.bikaun@dpird.wa.gov.au Main: +61 (0)8 9368 3448

Mobile: +61 (0)448 122 726

For contract regarding the Varroa mite response please call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881.

What have they been up to?

In the event of an exotic pest incursion, the biosecurity officers are there to provide expert support to industry, and to help design and implement response measures. With the recent incursion of Varroa mite in NSW, all BBO’s have been extremely busy assisting with the response in various ways, such as:

  • Assisting in NSW at the State Control Centre (SCC)
  • Assisting in their local jurisdiction SCC
  • Assisting with activities in the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program (NBPSP)
  • Assessing compliance and conducting surveillance at pollination events

 

Update from a few BBOs

NSW

Rod Bourke, NSW DPI Bee Biosecurity Officer, based at Tocal Agricultural College in the Hunter Valley since mid-2017.

My work location is now within the Red “eradication” Zone of the Varroa response. I, along with Mark Page (BBO-Surveillance), were amongst the first responders when we were tasked with euthanising all Newcastle Port sentinel hives on 22nd June after being advised that Varroa destructor had been found within 2 of them. Since that time, I have undertaken many various roles within the response including general varroa sampling within hives in the Newcastle area, euthanising Infected Premises (IP) hives and week 2 of the Almond Surveillance program in the Riverina.

QLD

Dr. Dave Schlipalius is the current Queensland Bee Biosecurity Officer at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Since the detection of varroa mite in June, Dave has been working within Queensland’s varroa mite preparedness response group. He has provided expert advice to various working groups on varroa mite detection, surveillance, risk and risk mitigation, developed and reviewed public information and engagement, delivered varroa mite education and awareness activities to industry and amateur beekeepers, promoted beehive surveillance including Queensland’s Hive Surveillance Program to increase surveillance participation, and answered beekeeper and industry enquiries. Dave is currently assisting as the Industry Liaison for Queensland’s Varroa preparedness working group.

WA

Jessica Bikaun delivers the National Bee Biosecurity Program in WA as part of her role as Project Officer (Bees) at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). Jess was deployed to the Varroa Emergency Response in NSW’s State Coordination Centre in July but has since returned to WA to continue working with beekeepers to improve their biosecurity practices and prepare for exotic bee threats. Read more.

SA

Samantha has a Bachelor of Animal Science and a keen interest in biosecurity, beekeeping, production of queens, bee friendly plants and bees’ role in pollination.

Her role in the SA response to the detection of Varroa in NSW has been that of technical consultant. Within that role she has been working on fact sheets, communications and other extension materials, risk assessments for the entry of bees and related items and products into SA, organising and implementing a risk-based surveillance program and the associated sampling protocol. She has also been around to different regions in SA holding workshops showing beekeepers how to sample hives.

 

The NBBP is coordinated by Plant Health Australia and funded by state and territory governments and by AHBIC using their PHA levy. Co-investment is also provided from state apiary funds in South Australia and Victoria.

 

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