AS New South Wales authorities scramble to control a deadly bee mite outbreak on the Central Coast, the Victorian government has introduced a new permit system for hive movement across the state.
As of yesterday, all beekeepers are required to apply for a permit to move hives into Victoria's Sunraysia region for this year's almond pollination season.
The regulations will impact the movement of bees, hives, used beekeeping equipment and bee products.
Processed honey, wax, new beekeeping tools and equipment are exempt and can be transported freely into and within Victoria.
In addition, beekeepers must also obtain a permit for the movement of any bees, hives, used beekeeping equipment and bee products into Victoria if they were in New South Wales at any time after January 1, 2022.
This also applies if they have recently relocated to another state or territory.
The varroa mite, which is deadly to honey bees, has been detected along the Central Coast, leaving authorities no choice but to destroy multiple beehives to stop the spread.
Victoria's deputy chief plant health officer Stephen Dibley said the measures provided assurance for the almond industry leading into pollination season and would help with contact tracing if varroa is detected in Victoria.
"The permit system helps ensure the almond pollination can proceed in a manner that won't jeopardise Victoria's bees," Dr Dibley said.
"If you plan to take beehives to the Sunraysia region from any location, please visit the Agriculture Victoria website and apply for a permit."
Applications from New South Wales will be assessed once the current standstill in the state has lifted.
The restrictions come as Sunraysia almond producers need about 277,000 hives to pollinate their crops in August, about half of which usually come from New South Wales and Queensland.
Victoria's bee movement restrictions are in addition to the restrictions in New South Wales and other states.
Dr Dibley said although the Victorian permit system would help protect bees during this busy time, beekeepers should stay vigilant.
"Check your hives for varroa mite if the weather is appropriate, and if you see anything suspicious, please report it immediately to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881."
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