Response team make a bee-line to Asian honey bee nest


The latest Asian honey bee nest was found using a technique known as bee-lining.

Another Asian honey bee nest has been found in the Hyde Park area of Townsville, but there were no varroa mites on the bees or in the nest.

Biosecurity Queensland Varroa Mite Response Coordinator Dr Ashley Bunce said this latest nest was located in the eaves of a house that backed on to the property where the last nest was found in a wine barrel on the verandah of a family home.

“The varroa mite response team found this latest Asian honey bee nest using a technique called bee-lining, which tracks foraging bees back to their nest,” he said.

The technique is normally used when suspect bees have been spotted foraging on flowers, and involves setting up a feeding station as an artificial food source for the bees close to where they have been seen.

“By luring the bees to the feeding station with a floral scent and converting them to the artificial food source, the response team can then track the flight path of the bees back to their nest.

“This last discovery proves that bee-lining is an effective technique and will continue to be used by the varroa mite response team to locate any further Asian honey bee nests in Townsville.

“With spring now upon us, it is important that Townsville residents remain vigilant and report any suspect bee sighting to us on 13 25 23, whether it’s a swarm or nest, or even a couple of unusual bees.”

Varroa mites (Varroa jacobsoni) have been found on Asian honey bees at Townsville Port and Annandale. Varroa mites have the potential to significantly damage the Australian bee industry, disrupting honey production and pollination services.

Because of the potential threat  varroa mites place on bee and horticultural industries in Australia, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, has launched a project  to strengthen Australia’s defences against varroa mite, and enhance crop pollination.

The five-year project will identify how to eradicate bee diseases or manage them if threats such as the varroa mite were established in Australia.