Australia fears advent of Varroa

Government reports on Varroa issue to a senate inquiry

Oct 28, 2014
A Varroa-infested bee pupa

A Varroa-infested bee pupa

Picking up on the government report, the Australian Herald Sun says, that the State Government’s Department of Primary Industries warns that bee losses caused by Varroa could have a disastrous impact:

  • $60 million losses alone in field crops such as canola, beans and peas through the absence of bees for pollination
  • a further $22 million from the lucerne seed industry
  • an estimated maximum loss of $261 million for horticulture crops  
  • total losses would be up to $410 million, as packing sheds and processing facilities would close, causing inevitable job losses.

The projected figures are based on estimates of how much cropping relies on pollination by honey bees.

The Varroa destructor reached the south island of New Zealand in 2006 and University of Adelaide bee expert Dr Katja Hogendoorn said it was very likely it would reach South Australia, because bee hives were often found on international shipping: “The likelihood of it reaching SA is extremely high because the rest of the world has suffered infestations and it would probably be brought in inadvertently from a cargo ship or even a hive in the mast of a pleasure yacht,’’ she said. She also added that in New Zealand every precaution had been taken to prevent it from moving from the North Island to the South Island but they hadn’t been able to stop it.

To read the Herald Sun article on the government report click here.

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