The requirement to report detection or suspicion of notifiable diseases exists in all Australian states and territory legislation but it is included in the Australian Honey bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice (the Code) to reinforce this very important obligation.
Individual states and territories have different reporting requirements and/or exemptions for reporting notifiable diseases and all beekeepers must ensure that they are aware of these requirements and comply with them.
Pests and diseases that are exotic or have limited distribution in Australia, and must, under state or territory legislation, must be reported. Examples include varroa mites and American foulbrood
Pests and diseases that can impact on hive quality if not managed, but do not need to be reported to state or territory governments. Examples include sacbrood virus.
A full list of notifiable pests in each state or territory can be found here.
Early detection and reporting of any suspect pests or symptoms may prevent or minimise long-term damage to the honey bee industry and reduce any quarantine period that an apiary, or apiaries, are placed under.
When inspecting hives, look for unusual symptoms such as poorly formed honey bees with deformed wings, thoraces and abdomens as well as general honey bee colony symptoms of rapid population decline, or a low bee to comb to brood ratio. Also be aware of any mites that are observed on the honey bees or in the brood.
If you observe any unusual symptoms or detect any mites on your honey bees or in the brood report it immediately via the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.
Calls to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline will be forwarded to an experienced person in the state or territory government, who will ask some questions about what you have seen and may arrange to collect a sample.
Do not send samples without first speaking to someone from the state or territory department of agriculture, who can discuss the correct type of sample, its packaging, handling and transport to the laboratory assigned for diagnosis.
In some states and territories, the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline operates only during business hours. Outside these hours, leave your full contact information and a brief description of the issue and your call will be followed up as soon as possible. Every report will be taken seriously and treated confidentially.
If you suspect you have an exotic pest, the following general precautions should be taken immediately to contain the pest and protect your apiary:
If a honey bee emergency plant pest (EPP) is identified, you should follow the simple guidelines listed below:
Following these guidelines provides the best protection for every beekeeper and the entire honey bee industry. If you see anything unusual, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.