National Management Group announces transition to management approach

The Varroa mite National Management Group (NMG) has announced a change in approach to managing an outbreak of the bee parasite in Australia.

On 19 September the NMG – which was established to coordinate a response to the biosecurity incursion – said in a statement it would abandon eradication efforts and transition to a management approach.

“The National Management Group (NMG) confirmed at its meeting on 19 September 2023 that eradication of Varroa destructor (Varroa mite) is no longer feasible based on technical grounds, following advice from the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP), and has now entered a transition to management phase,” the NMG said.

“The NMG acknowledged the significant and sustained efforts of the New South Wales government and impacted industries over the eradication response phase since June 2022 and the contribution of both government and industry representatives in guiding response activities.”

While a revised response plan (including transition to management activities) is being developed by the CCEPP and agreed to by the NMG, New South Wales will operate under an interim strategy to limit the impacts and slow the spread of Varroa mite.

“The NSW Department of Primary Industries, AHBIC and other impacted industry groups will be communicating with beekeepers and businesses relying on pollination services currently impacted by the response program around all changes to requirements,” the NMG said.

“Varroa mite remains a key threat to Australia’s honey and honey bee pollination plant industries, and it is important that government and industry continue to work together to manage this pest.”

“The NMG will meet again in the coming weeks to consider further technical advice from the CCEPP on options for the ongoing management of Varroa mite in Australia.”