There’s big drama in the bee world thanks to a nasty infestation of Varroa destructor mites spreading throughout multiple bee communities in NSW. Haven’t the bees already been through enough?!
In case you’ve not been keeping abreast or abuzz of the bee drama, varroa mites were detected in Newcastle last week.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the mites impact European honey bees’ flying, food gathering and how they’re born. It’s bad stuff.
Queensland just announced it’d be shutting its borders to bees and hives ‘cos of the mites.
“Biosecurity Queensland is taking this action to protect the state’s bee industry from varroa mites which pose a serious risk to honey production and pollination services,” said Queensland’s Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries slash Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner on Thursday. Phew, that’s a bloody long job title.
The situation in NSW has been labelled a “bee lockdown” and I’m hoping the bees have some streaming service subscriptions ready to go.
As per the BBC, or the B(ee)B(ee)C if you will, the lockdown means bees can’t be moved around NSW.
Bee bans have also been set up in Victoria and South Australia, meaning stuff like honey can’t be imported from NSW for the time being. Bad news for Winnie the Pooh’s Australian cousins.
Sadly, any hives within around 10 kilometres of confirmed infestation sites also have to be destroyed. According to the ABC, over six million bees have already been euthanised in NSW because of the mite.
The poor little bees! First fkn climate change and now this. When will they catch a break?
Beekeepers have spoken out about the impact of the bee culling too.
Apiarist (the fancy word for beekeeper or bee expert) Roland Inman told the ABC about the potential impact of the culls.
“I’m not very happy at all and who would be?” Inman said.
“Who would be happy at the thought of anything up to $1,000,000 gone through no fault of your own?”
“Are we going to be issued with varroa mite strips so we can pre-emptively start managing for this, or at least doing damage control?”
According to NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders, details about compensation for beekeepers will be released next week per the ABC.
As well as being fucked for the beekeepers, the nasty little mites could have wider impacts on our already-borked food production situation.
Famously bees are so important because they pollinate a bunch of the food we eat as well as flowers and the like.
Ian McColl from NSW Farmers said the situation was both a concern to the farming industry and a “major community concern” too, per the BBC. Great!
“Bees are an integral part of our production system,” he explained.
Hopefully NSW’s bee situation will get under control soon and we won’t see more widespread mite infestation. From the mouse plague to the feral bees, it truly feels like Australia is playing cursed animal bingo.