It is time for a honey bee check-up

​​​‘Bee Pest Blitz’ is a new annual month-long national campaign to increase awareness of the importance of bee biosecurity and encourage beekeepers to inspect their hives for high priority pests. 

With over 1850 registered beekeepers in Tasmania, and more than 47,937 across all of Australia, keeping Australia’s honey bee population healthy is no mean feat. Combined that’s approximately 855,330 hives! 

“Surveillance is key to the timely detection of new pests and provides the best chance for industries and governments to respond before pests become established and widespread,” says Sarah Hilton, Bee Biosecurity Manager at Plant Health Australia. 

Under the Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice, beekeepers are required to inspect their hives twice per year, using a method that looks for the presence of arthropod pests, including Varroa spp. (varroa) and Tropilaelaps spp. (tropilaelaps) mites. By participating in the ‘Bee Pest Blitz’, beek​​eepers will fulfil one of their annual bee biosecurity obligations and requirements. 

Autumn is an ideal time to conduct hive inspections and alcohol washing is the most effective method to check for varroa mites. 

Tasmanian beekeepers are asked to conduct an alcohol wash to check for Varroa and record their inspections in their BeeTAS online beekeeping diaries. 

If you see or suspect any kind of exotic pest or disease in your hive, you must report it immediately by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline: 1800 084 881 

“Maintaining honey bee health and sustainable bee populations is essential for the future production of Australian honey and supporting those agricultural sectors that depend on honey bee pollination services,” says Sarah. 

‘Bee Pest Blitz’ is a Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) funded initiative, led by PHA, and supported by the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council and all state and territory governments. 

Surveillance reporting will be handled at a jurisdictional level and all personal information will be kept confidential. 

Visit bee pest blitz for free surveillance resources on how to conduct an alcohol wash.​​