Type Status Location Last Updated
This message is being issued for Victoria. 
What you need to know about Varroa mite:  
  • Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) is an exotic parasite of honey bees that weakens and kills honey bees and transmits honey bee viruses. 
  • If left untreated, Varroa mite infested honey bee hives are likely to die within three to four years, which will have a significant impact on Australia's honey and honey bee pollination plant industries. 
  • A permit is required to move bees, beehives, beekeeping equipment and bee products into Victoria from another state or from anywhere in Victoria into the Sunraysia region. Permits applications are currently being accepted from Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. This measure has been put in place ahead of Victoria’s almond pollination season.
  • No permits are being granted to NSW beekeepers at this time.
  • Agriculture Victoria will be repatriating some Victorian hives that have been stuck over the NSW border under permit (for details see https://agriculture.vic.gov.au/varroa). 
  • These measures have been made ahead of almond pollination season to provide extra care that we conduct this pollination season safely. 
  • This does not include processed honey and wax and new beekeeping tools and equipment which can be transported within Victoria and from interstate as normal. 

What you should do if you own bees: 
  • Check your hives regularly for signs of Varroa mite and other exotic pests. 
  • Varroa mite (Varroa destructor), is a distinctive-looking small mite, around 1 mm in diameter. 
  • Mites are easily identifiable to the naked eye and are a reddish-brown colour. 
  • Varroa mite can be tested for using any of the following methods:  sugar shake, alcohol wash test, drone uncapping or brood uncapping inspection. This should ideally be done at a temperature greater than 14C. 
  • If you see or suspect Varroa mite, report it immediately by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. This hotline is answered 0800 - 1800 Monday to Friday and 1000 - 1800 weekends and public holidays. Please leave a message outside of these hours.
What you should do if you are an orchardist receiving bees for pollination services: 
  • Orchard owners must ensure that bees coming to their property have a permit. 
Signs of the disease in bees may include: 
  • If present in a hive, Varroa mite can be found inside sealed brood cells, where they spend most of their life, multiply and feed on developing pupa. 
  • Female mites can also be found on adult bees. They often hide between the hardened abdominal segments closest to the thorax. 
  • The mites may be found on adult bees in overwintering colonies that have no honey bee brood.
How Varroa mite spreads:  
  • Varroa mite spreads between colonies and apiaries when hive components, infested brood and adult bees are interchanged; via the transport of hives, used beekeeping equipment; and queen bees and by foraging and drifting bees and swarms.
To help prevent the spread of Varroa mite to your bees you should:
  • Ensure that you have a permit if moving bees, hives, used beekeeping equipment and bee products into Victoria. All beekeepers are encouraged to be vigilant and inspect their hives regularly for signs of Varroa mite by using the sugar shake test, alcohol wash test, drone uncapping or brood uncapping inspection. This should ideally be done at a temperature greater than 14C.
Protecting your health: 
  • Varroa mite poses no risk to human health.
More Information:

This message was issued by Victoria’s Chief Plant Health Officer at the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.   

The next update is expected as the situation changes.   

Agriculture Victoria website: agriculture.vic.gov.au/varroa 
NSW website: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa   

Use multiple sources to stay informed: 

Accessibility: 
The following services can help you, or someone you know, access information during an emergency. 
  • To access this information in other languages, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 (freecall) and ask them to call VicEmergency Hotline.   
  • If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment contact National Relay Service on 1800 555 677 and ask them to call the VicEmergency Hotline.