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Varroa Development Officers give practical help in NSW

The Lismore App

13 May 2024, 11:01 PM

Varroa Development Officers give practical help in NSW

Given the growing rate of varroa mite new sites, including Lismore and the Northern Rivers, eight new Varroa Development Officers (VDOs) roles in NSW will assist beekeepers to understand how to manage the Varroa mite pest under the National Varroa Management program.


These news roles follow national agreement to move to a Varroa mite Transition to Management Plan (T2M), adopted by the National Management Group (NMG) in February 2024. The plan places a strong emphasis on building industry resilience and preparedness and increasing beekeeper and industry knowledge.



The Varroa Development Officers (VDOs) will play a key role in supporting beekeepers with information and practical assistance as they learn to manage Varroa in their apiaries, building skills, resilience and understanding as the nation continues to transition to ongoing management of Varroa.


Further roles will soon begin in other states and territories, but NSW needed to move quickly to get beekeepers skilled up, and proactively manage this pest which is present in many parts of the state.


On 19 September 2023, the National Management Group (NMG) determined it was no longer technically feasible to eradicate Varroa mite, and the response is now working on a national transition to management plan.



The mite is expected to spread over time, and beekeeper reporting of monitoring results is key to understanding where the mite is currently active.  


These results are available on the Varroa heat map at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa


The VDOs are also working closely with the training and education program, which is currently underway in NSW, covering a variety of Varroa mite related topics including monitoring and reporting actions, Integrated Pest Management, record keeping requirements and different treatment methods including mechanical, chemical and organic treatments.



Beekeepers can learn more and register for an upcoming workshop by visiting the Varroa Management Training tab located on the dedicated NSW DPI Varroa Mite website at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa and can contact the VDO network by calling 1800 084 811.


Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty said, “The Varroa Development Officers will work with individual beekeepers as well as beekeeping clubs to provide practical, hands-on assistance to build skills, resilience and understanding as Australia transitions to managing this pest. 


“These roles will eventually roll out across the rest of Australia, but NSW, where Varroa mite is present, needed to move quickly and decisively to meet the needs of this very important industry.


“The VDOs will work hand in hand with the extensive training program which has also commenced in NSW, with locations and dates for training being released regularly.


“These skills will be key to ensuring a robust and resilient beekeeping and honey industry, worth $147 million across Australia, ensuring it can continue to support our nations pollination-reliant industries worth over $16 billion annually.


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