Bee pests and diseases

There are many harmful bees and bee pests which could seriously damage the Northern Territory (NT) honey bee industry.

Notifiable honey bee pests and diseases

Notifiable honey bee pests and diseases in the NT include:


  • Tropilaelaps mite (Tropilaelaps clareae or T. mercedesae)
  • Varroosis (Varroa destructor or V. jacobsoni)


  • Acariasis tracheal mite (Acarapsis woodi)
  • Asian honey bee (Apis cerana) (Plant Health Act)


  • Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida)
  • Braula fly (Braula coeca)
  • European foulbrood (Melissococcus plutoenius)
  • American foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae)

If you suspect or confirm an endemic, emergency or exotic bee pest or disease you must report it as soon as possible.

Call Animal Biosecurity on 1800 675 888 or your local veterinary or livestock biosecurity officer.

Emergency honey bee diseases

Emergency diseases are notifiable diseases listed under the emergency plant pest response deed.

Most diseases are not present in Australia. However some diseases occur from time to time.

Emergency honey bee pests and diseases include:

Varroa mite

Varroa mite (Varroa jacobsoni) was detected on Asian honey bees in Townsville, Queensland in 2016.

Two mites were found on two bees, and three more were found in capped cells, in a hive discovered at Townsville port.

The bees, mites and hives were destroyed and no further bees have been found.

For more information about this detection and the biosecurity response go to the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.

Find out more about varroa mite.

Tropilaelaps mite

Tropilaelaps mite is native to Asia. It is not currently present in Australia.

Find out more about tropilaelaps mite.

Exotic honey bee diseases

Exotic diseases are notifiable diseases originating outside Australia and are usually not known to be present in Australia.

Exotic honey bee pests and diseases include:

Asian honey bee

Asian honey bee is present in Queensland. An infestation was detected in the NT in 2015 on a camper trailer that was brought from Cairns, Queensland.

The nest was destroyed and did not carry the varroa mite or other diseases. Surveillance across the NT did not find any evidence of spread of Asian honey bee.

Find out more about the Asian honey bee.

Tracheal mite

Tracheal mite is not currently present in Australia.

Find out more about tracheal mite.

Endemic honey bee diseases

Endemic diseases are notifiable diseases present in Australia. They may or may not be present in the NT.

Endemic honey bee diseases include:

European foulbrood

European foulbrood was detected in a small number of beehives in the Darwin and Katherine region in 2016.

The infected hives were destroyed. Surveillance of beehives in other apiaries detected no signs of disease.

Find out more about European foulbrood.

American foulbrood

American foulbrood has not been detected in the NT but present in all other states.

Find out more about American foulbrood.

Small hive beetle

Small hive beetle was detected in the NT on a queen bee in a package imported from interstate in 2009.

The beetle was destroyed. There have been no other reports of small hive beetle.

Find out more about small hive beetle.

Braula fly

Braula fly is only found in Tasmania and are not present on mainland Australia.

Find out more about braula fly.

National Bee Pest Surveillance Program

Plant Health Australia co-ordinates the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program. It is an early-warning system to detect new occurrences of exotic bee pests. This includes pest bees.

The program monitors locations considered to be the most likely entry points for pests. For more information go to the Plant Health Australia website.

Other endemic and exotic pests important to the honey bee industry are listed below

  • Black queen cell virus (Cripavirus)
  • Chalkbrood disease (Ascosphaera apis)
  • Greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella)
  • Lesser wax moth (Achroia grisella)
  • Nosemosis (Nosema apis and N. ceranae)
  • Sacbrood disease (Sacbrood virus (Iflavirus))
  • African honey bee (Apis mellifera scutellata)
  • Africanized honey bee (Apis mellifera scutellata (hybrid))
  • Cape honey bee (Apis mellifera capensis)
  • Deformed wing virus (Deformed wing virus (Iflavirus))
  • Hornets (Vespa spp. (exotic species))
  • Large hive beetle (Hoplostoma fuligineus)
  • Slow paralysis virus (Slow paralysis virus (Iflavirus))

All suspect bee pests and diseases should be reported for investigation.

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Last updated: 13 April 2018