Tokal queens can be moved when the red zone of Varroa mites expands to include the site of the breeding programme

The NSW Agriculture Minister says as many queen bees as attainable will be moved from the newly expanded Varroa mite eradication space to guard the nationwide beekeeping programme.

The Varroa mite, which has destroyed bee colonies world wide, was found in Petrowick, lower than 10 kilometers from Tocal Agricultural Faculty within the New South Wales Hunter area.

The faculty, run by the New South Wales Division of Main Industries, homes the Nationwide Honeybee Genetic Enchancment Programme, which helps beekeepers throughout the nation.

The most recent discovery of Varroa mites brings the state’s whole quantity to 59, however Agriculture Secretary Dougald Saunders has confirmed that no mites have been present in Tokel itself.

“[It] It would not have contaminated cells — it has been monitored very frequently, however it’s now positioned inside a type of purple areas, so it is in an excision zone.”


Mr Saunders stated the soon-to-be discovery was unlucky however completely surprising, as 16,000 cells have now been examined.

He stated protocols had been developed over the previous month to guard and probably switch “among the actually beneficial bee genes which can be within the Tokal”.

“It is going to be as a lot as attainable with out feeling that we’re placing anybody else in peril,” he stated.

“It hasn’t been formalized but, however it mainly signifies that there will probably be a course of the place some bees will be moved in a small group, like in a queen bee with a few of her bee nurses.

“[This would be achieved] By checking every one in every of them individually for Varroa mites after which transferring it in a restricted place… to a different place to attempt to protect these genes.

“And that will additionally embody different queen bee keepers in that space.”

Tocal’s beekeeping program performs an vital position all through the nation.(ABC Higher Hunter: Bridget Murphy)

Bees in insurance coverage hives provide hope

The purpose of the Nationwide Beekeeping Program is to enhance genetics and make bees extra productive and fewer inclined to illness, inside Australia’s ‘distinctive atmosphere’.

Robert Wren, director of the Tokal Middle, who had a distinct understanding of the minister as to what would occur to the Tokal bees transferring ahead, stated the purple zone eradication protocols have been clear.

“Which means it’ll be euthanasia for the hives, and for our queen bee analysis, that signifies that’s going to be a part of that as effectively,” he stated.

However he stated there are future choices for this system’s continuation by queens related to this system that reside in “insurance coverage or satellite tv for pc” hives on properties elsewhere and between states.

“As I perceive it, we’ll kill all our cells within the purple zone [queens included] There’s a debate concerning the potential of all queen breeders to preserve genes, and protocols and exceptions on this subject haven’t but been finalized.”

“After we’re achieved, we [and other queen breeders] You should have a process and a protocol for motion and motion.”

His DPI colleague Elizabeth Frost is optimistic.

“Our queens are throughout Australia, so there’s genetics on the market, exterior of this area, which is admittedly good and the trade has been very supportive of getting and persevering with with this genetics program,” she stated.

“Previously few years of working this program, now we have developed the nationwide database and the information now we have generated from this inhabitants, in addition to genotyping … will reside exterior this inhabitants within the purple.

“I could not be extra pleased with that.”

Mr. Saunders launched a press release to ABC this afternoon, outlining the Toukal bee program and the potential way forward for queen bees.

“Because of the personal analysis functions of Tocal queens, DPI is working behind the scenes to think about motion choices to preserve their genes.”

He stated that Mr. Ren wouldn’t have seen these discussions.