It’s Sugar Shake Month!

April is Sugar Shake Month, a joint initiative between NSW DPI, Amateur Beekeepers Association NSW, NSW Apiarists Association and the National Bee Biosecurity Program to promote awareness and surveillance for exotic bee mites in Australia.

During April, all beekeepers are encouraged to perform a sugar shake test and submit their results to the NSW DPI. This means we need all beekeepers to shake a little sugar.

Unsure on how to conduct a sugar shake test? Watch this video.

Submit your results!

Once you have conducted your sugar shake test you can submit your results to NSW DPI via this online form. Recording negative results are just as important as positive detections as they help us to prove ongoing freedom of exotic bee pests in NSW.

Why is widespread surveillance important to the bee industry?

Regular surveillance is essential to identifying the occurrence of new bee pests early and ensuring actions can be taken to eradicate or minimise the impact of these pests on the industry and environment. The health of the beekeeping industry is important in itself, but also has flow-on effects to pollination-reliant industries and the wider community that benefit from healthy hives, their products and services they provide. Autumn is an ideal time to conduct hive inspections and is the perfect opportunity to also conduct a sugar shake test.

Sugar shake a requirement under the Code of Practice

As of July 1 2020, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice will become mandatory in NSW. Part of the Code includes compulsory inspections twice a year for exotic bee pests, including mites. Mite inspections can be performed in one of three ways, sugar shake testing being one. Conduct your sugar shake test this April and make a jump start on meeting your Code obligations before July.

Where to get a sugar shake kit

Sugar shake kits are relatively cheap, simple, reusable devices that can be purchased from beekeeping supply stores, or you can make your own.

For Sugar Shake Month in 2020, the National Bee Biosecurity Program will provide a limited number of FREE kits in collaboration with the Amateur Beekeeping Association and NSW Apiarist Association. Get in touch with your local club to collect a kit while stocks last!*

If you miss out on a free kit, the following suppliers have indicated that they will also be stocking sugar shake kits over April:

  • The Urban Bee Hive
  • Bindaree Bee Supplies
  • Bees R Us
  • Tamworth Beekeeping Supplies

*A limited number of kits will also be available for postage under special circumstances where a beekeeper has tried but cannot access a kit via any of the methods listed above. If you would like to request a kit under special circumstances to be posted to you, please make your case in writing to

Clean your kit!

Your sugar shake kit can be re-used for multiple inspections, though be sure to clean it between different hives and apiaries. This is important to ensure you minimise the risk of spreading infectious bee diseases such as American foulbrood (AFB) between hives and bees.

Think you’ve found varroa?

If you conduct your test and suspect varroa or other exotic pest, save the sample and report it immediately to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881. Alternatively, submit a report and photos through the online reporting form.

More information

For more information on sugar shake month visit the NSW DPI webpage.

Want to learn how to perform a sugar shake test? Watch this video.

Want to submit your test results? Follow this link.