Released 07/11/2018

Thanks to a three-part bee training course, the ACT will be more prepared than ever before in managing pest and disease outbreaks which could threaten Australia’s valuable bee industry.

“ACT Government staff are today undertaking the first part of training which will provide them with the skills needed to respond to a bee biosecurity threat,” said Stephen Hughes, ACT Biosecurity Senior Manager.

“Bees are not only known for producing honey, they also play an important role in our food production by pollinating many of our fruit and vegetable crops – all of which would be put at risk if pests and diseases, such as Varroa mite were introduced to Australia.

“17 local biosecurity staff will take part in the training, providing them with an opportunity to hone their skills and surveillance techniques on how to best recognise, monitor and manage the impact of a biosecurity threat on honey bee colonies. It’s important to note this is training and is not in response to a real outbreak.

“Varroa mite in particular has spread to all inhabited continents except Australia, making our industry very appealing to overseas markets. We are one of the top 10 honey producing countries in the world with an estimated value of $90 million a year, exporting products such as packaged honey, beeswax and live bee sales.

“Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility. We all have a role in preventing an outbreak of Varroa mite. Even if you don’t own bee hives or work with bees, you need to consider the biosecurity requirements for online purchases and goods bought during overseas travel,” Mr Hughes said.

People who own bees should always use good biosecurity practices. More information is available at the Code of Practice for Beekeeping in Residential Areas in the ACT and the Australian Honey Bee Industry Code of Practice.

If you notice signs of the Varroa mite, report it immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

A media opportunity will take place at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands, Dairy Road in Fyshwick TODAY Wednesday 7 November 2018 from 10:15 am to 11:00 am. Over 20 local biosecurity staff, in partnership with Plant Health Australia and beekeeping associations, will be involved.

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Section: ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate | Media Releases

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