Beekeepers continue calls for a more balanced approach.
EXPANDED “RED ZONE”
It has been announced that a further 650 beehives will be destroyed in NSW, after varroa mite was detected outside of the existing eradication zone in the Hunter Valley in late-November.
In another major blow to the industry, the mite has been “discovered” in hives at a property near Cessnock, beyond the area designated as a “red zone” by the state’s biosecurity authorities.
As a result, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has now expanded the eradication zone a further 10 kilometres following the most recent detection.
The red zone now encompasses 80 more sites and 650 more hives, a spokesperson for Agriculture Minister Duguld Saunders said.
“The detection was kind of just outside an existing red zone so it pushes that zone out by another 10 kilometres,” DPI spokesman Mark O’Brien said.
“But it’s obviously significant in the context of the response.”
Since June, an extensive tracing effort (similar to COVID ‘contact tracing’) has been underway, with 16,800 hives destroyed in the culling program so far. These “red zone” areas include:
This continuing, concerning biosecurity event has sparked much opposition to the moves.
The parasite was first detected in surveillance hives at the Port of Newcastle in June, with more than 85,000 tested for traces of the mite since the outbreak.
Euthanasia and disposal teams within the NSW DPI have been working within the red eradication zones around the Newcastle and Hunter areas.
Each hive contains anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 bees, which means tens of millions of bees have been euthanised in an attempt to control the parasite since it was first detected.
One petition against the cull has racked up almost 27,000 signatures so far, with beekeepers calling for the NSW DPI to end the cull and release the modelling underpinning the strategy.
Critics cite that there are many alternatives to controlling varroa mite that doesn’t include euthanasia, and the government’s lack of communication and planning with the strategy is destroying producers.
For example, beekeepers can use an integrated pest management (IPM) approach as a solution, in which they use several different mite control techniques in combination or in rotation throughout the year.
The most popular essential oil for varroa mite control is thymol (from a thyme plant). See soft chemicals:
There are also ways of reducing reproduction rates in populations of infected hives.
Outside of the IPM approach, biologists in the United States have developed new ways to “toughen up bees” to be able to withstand mite outbreaks in areas where they commonly occur:
Of course, these methods aren’t as effective as an outright killing of the bees themselves, but the alternatives highlight a need for a delicate balance when dealing with these situations.
Especially the need for beekeepers to have a say and take control themselves, with assistance.
The NSW government’s mechanical approach takes into no consideration the keepers or ecosystem itself.
The honeybee plays an important role in large-scale agricultural pollination services and provides beeswax and honey to the domestic and export market.
Some might say this is an intentional act, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.
For more TOTT News:
Facebook — Facebook.com/TOTTNews
YouTube — YouTube.com/TOTTNews
Instagram — Instagram.com/TOTTNews
Twitter — Twitter.com/EthanTOTT
Bitchute — Bitchute.com/TOTTNews
Gab — Gab.com/TOTTNews