THREE new premises infested with Varroa mite have been reported with the emergency zone extended as a result.
The emergency zone, which was already extended to include Bulahdelah on the mid-north coast and south of Newcastle at Calga on Thursday, has now been extended again to include the Port Stephens Peninsula area, NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), acting chief plant protection officer, Dr Chris Anderson said.
The properties at Tanilba Bay, Salt Ash and another at Mayfield East are part of 16 premises now confirmed to have Varroa mite infiltrating their hives.
"Further reporting by beekeepers and investigations by NSW DPI officers, has identified three varroa mite infestations at these properties," Dr Anderson said.
"This means that the emergency order has been updated to include the Port Stephens Peninsula within the red 10 kilometre eradication zone, where hives will be euthanised.
"NSW DPI biosecurity experts continue to act to protect the NSW bee industry in conjunction with Local Land Services, NSW Police, Rural Fire Service and the wider community as part of the mammoth effort to arrest the spread of the threat."
Mr Anderson said the NSW DPI continues to ask all people who have acquired honeybees (including queen bees, nucleus hives and hives with honeybees) from within the 50km emergency notification zone of the Port of Newcastle in the last 12-months to report them to help ensure business continuity for the honeybee industry.
"Community reporting will importantly help us facilitate and free up the movement of honeybees in the rest of NSW, especially around almond pollination," Dr Anderson said.
"The Varroa mite response plan has also been updated so that while it remains necessary to euthanise honeybee colonies in the eradication zones and destroy internal hive equipment such as brood and honey frames, other equipment will only be destroyed when a risk assessment deems it necessary, with options to decontaminate external equipment such as hive boxes, pallets and straps as well as metal ware, so they can be retained by beekeepers.
"Beekeepers are reminded of the group permit that allows flood-affected honeybees and hives in current flood watch areas to be moved to a higher location on premises, or if that's not possible, within the same emergency zone.
"After the hives have been moved as per this Permit, they cannot be moved back to the original location," Dr Anderson said.
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