The National Management Group—comprising all Australian governments, affected industries and Plant Health Australia—met on 12 September 2016 and agreed to a national response for eradicating Varroa jacobsoni from Townsville, Queensland.
Acting on expert scientific advice, the National Management Group agreed that it is technically feasible and cost beneficial to eradicate Varroa jacobsoni. It endorsed a 4-year response plan with a cost-shared budget of $2.6 million.
Asian honey bees infested with Varroa jacobsoni were discovered at the Port of Townsville on 27 June 2016. While Biosecurity Queensland has been responding since the initial detection, the agreed national response provides the additional resources required to complete the eradication.
Varroa mites cause deformities in bees, leading to the decline and destruction of hives. There are multiple species of varroa mite: the two species of high concern are Varroa jacobsoni and Varroa destructor. Varroa destructor is more commonly associated with European honey bees and is causing significant issues in the northern hemisphere.
Asian honey bees are the natural hosts of Varroa jacobsoni, however, this species of varroa mite has the potential to move to European honey bees with devastating effects. Eradicating Varroa jacobsoni will protect Australia's managed and wild European honey bees as well as the industries that rely on pollination services.
The Australian Government, all state and territory governments, and affected industries are contributing to this nationally significant response. The industry parties who agreed to cost share the response plan are:
- Australian Melon Association
- Australian Mango Industry Association
- Summerfruit Australia
- Australian Honey Bee Industry Council
- Almond Board of Australia
- Apple and Pear Australia Limited
- Australian Macadamia Society
- Avocados Australia
- Canned Fruit Industry Council of Australia
- Cherry Growers of Australia
- Grain Producers Australia
- Raspberries and Blackberries Australia
- Strawberries Australia
The national response will be conducted by Biosecurity Queensland under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. Under this agreement, the Australian Government, all state and territory governments, relevant industry bodies and Plant Health Australia, manage national responses to emergency plant pests.