Varroa ‘lockdown’

Fiure ants, the other plague threatening Queensland

The state government has introduced a hard border lockdown, on the Covid-19 model, and new surveillance methods to help track and hopefully stop the potentially disastrous bee and horticultural industry pest, varroa mite.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner earlier this year announced a ban on the transport of bees, hives and equipment across the border.

This accompanies official pronouncements that the pest outbreak in New South Wales is out of control and will never be eliminated.

Meanwhile Mr Furner has been criticised by his Opposition counterpart, Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett, over his announcement of new paperwork “to help keep the destructive varroa mite (Varroa destructor) out of Queensland.”

Mr Furner announced a new app, “the Bee 123 form on the Survey 123 app.”

“Even if suspect mites are not found, information from the Bee 123 form will be used to understand the number and health of beehives in Queensland, and to demonstrate the state remains free of the pest,” Mr Furner said.

“Early detection is essential to ensure any varroa mites entering Australia are contained.”

Mr Perrett said Biosecurity issues needed more than a form and an app.

Mr Furner’s response was “all about the paperwork,” he said.

Meanwhile the other rapidly spreading “cane toad” confronting Australia, the South American fire ant, has been reported as heading north, after already spreading west and south from its original detection site, west of Brisbane.

The pest is now headed our way and has been detected at Morayfield, between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.