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23 July, 2022

Beekeepers approved to work their hives

An amendment has been made to the state-wide emergency order, allowing NSW beekeepers in all zones except the red eradication zone, to work their hives.

By Emily Middleton

Previously, hives were unable to be touched in any way, even if on your own property. Beekeepers are now able to work their hives, remove frames for honey extraction, and place empty supers on full hives.

However, the concern still remains for bees needing to be moved for pollination.

“We are getting closer and closer to that almond job and no idea whether we can do it or not,” said local beekeeper Dennis Howard.

“Victoria has closed their border, and the sites that are of concern, where there might be varroa mite, because of the rain on the coast, they haven’t been able to fully work on those to see where we’re at.”

The new changes do not permit the movement of hives, brood boxes, nucleus hives, packaged bees, and queen bees anywhere in NSW. While Mr Howard is now able to prepare for pollination, there has been no indication on whether or not movement will be allowed in time.

“We have no proper idea, there’s discussion with DPI (department of primary industries) and the department of ag with Victorian authorities, around forming a permit system where we can check the bees and get a clearance to move.

“But because of the rain and weather, they haven’t had an opportunity to sit down and get that together,” said Mr Howard.

The red eradication zones are mainly on the east coast around Newcastle, however recently varroa mite has been detected in hives as close as Narrabri and hives were previously destroyed at Trangie.

“This isn’t really a concern, as we know that those hives in Narrabri have a direct connection to the outbreak in Newcastle, I haven’t been anywhere near there. They were bees that were in that Newcastle area earlier in the year and moved away in May. So we’re 99 per cent sure its confined,” said Mr Howard.

As of 6pm, Saturday July 9, the DPI has confirmed three new detections of varroa mite as field officers continue to carry out hive inspections and surveillance with beekeepers in the affected areas.

The new confirmed cases include Jerry Plains, Denman, and Heatherbrae, bringing the total number of infected premises to 38 since it was first detected. All new cases are linked to previously known cases.

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