NEW Varroa mite detections have been found this week within existing eradication zones on the mid-north coast, while the single case at Nana Glen near Coffs Harbour appears at this early stage to be isolated.
Biosecurity teams are calling on beekeepers to report negative results to help build a better map of the outbreak.
President of the NSW Apiarists Association Steve Fuller said having the disease carrier already in the north was particularly worrying with pollination programs for raspberries and blackberries just four weeks away.
The summer crop of blueberries will need pollination after that. He said DPI modelling was being used to determine the impact.
Mr Fuller re-iterated that the pest problem, which he says is the equivalent biosecurity nightmare to bees as foot and mouth disease in cattle, can be controlled provided people tell the truth about hive whereabouts.
"This is what makes the job so hard," he said.
"If people are truthful we can act."
Varroa mite tracing and surveillance work has confirmed new detections this week of Varroa mite, as field officers continue hive inspections with beekeepers across the state.
All new infected hives fall within existing eradication zones.
The new detections in hobby farm country, all within a short distance of each other on the lower Hunter, bring the total number of infested premises to 62 since Varroa mite was first identified during routine surveillance at the Port of Newcastle on June 22.
The new infested hives fall within an existing eradication zone, but with a new biosecurity order being made, the eradication zone around the Butterwick group will expand to slightly the west.
Tracing is underway to confirm how these sites are linked to previous detections.
To bring recreational beekeepers into the biosecurity fold, those affected by varroa mite will be reimbursed $500 for for each recreational hive destroyed to control the mite outbreak, or $200 for those who want to keep hive ware, with the difference covering the cost of euthanising bees.
"More and more people are trying their hand at beekeeping in their backyard which is why we've always seen hobbyists as critical to our eradication effort right from the start," NSW Minister for Agriculture, Dugald Saunders said.
Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh, a former CEO of the blueberry co-operative OzGroup, has closely followed the Nana Glen Varroa outbreak locally and said it was important that beekeepers who tests their hives for varroa mite also report any negative results.
"It is important that they report the results regardless," he said.
"It helps the DPI understand how best to tackle the outbreak and if they can do a better job then the surveillance and notification zones might not last as long."
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