Restricted area for Asian honey bee removed
On Friday 20 November 2015, the Asian honey bee restricted area, which was from Cairns extending up to Palm Cove in the north, Millaa Millaa in the south and Mutchilba in the west, was removed.
The lifting of the restricted area means that bee keepers will no longer require written approval from a government inspector to move bees or bee products into, within or out of the area.
Asian honey bees were first detected in Portsmith, Cairns in 2007. Following the detection, the designated restricted area was put into place in an attempt to contain and eradicate the pest.
However, over time, it was clear that the restricted area was not effective in preventing the spread of Asian honey bees. This is because they spread by flight which means they are very difficult to regulate or control.
For example, it was recently discovered that Asian honey bees had hitchhiked on the back of a caravan that was loaded on a semi-trailer, and were taken from Cairns to Darwin.
The National Management Group decided it was not technically feasible to eradicate Asian honey bees and a transition to management program was subsequently implemented and completed on 30 June 2013.
The best way to minimise the spread of Asian honey bees is for the community to be aware of what they look like, how they spread and what to do to stop further incursions.
Asian honey bees remain an important pest for Biosecurity Queensland to monitor, particularly because they are natural hosts for varroa mites – a highly destructive mite that has the potential to destroy European honey bee colonies.
To help prevent the continuing spread of Asian honey bees, especially new incursions, ongoing government-based activities in Queensland will include:
- surveillance (in partnership with the Australian Government) around ports
- responding to public reports, destroying colonies that are found, recording the distance from the known infested areas (in accordance with the policy adopted at the completion of the transmission to management program)
- monitoring bee populations around Cairns to assess the disease status
- genetic analysis of the population and new detections.
Industry and the general community can also help minimise the spread of Asian honey bee by:
- being aware of where Asian honey bees occurs in North Queensland
- checking your vessel, vehicle or trailer before travelling long distances
- having a pest control operator remove any bees that are swarming or nesting on your property
- reporting any swarms or nests of Asian honey bees near a port or boat marina, anywhere in Queensland, to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23
- reporting any swarms or nests of Asian honey bees in centres away from Cairns.
For more information contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or visit www.daf.qld.gov.au