Honey bees and beekeeping
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 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)
- American foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae)
- European foulbrood (Melissococcus plutonenius).
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 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 jacobsoni)
It 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.
For more information, go to the Varroa mite section of the Plant Health Australia website.
It is native to Asia. It is not currently present in Australia.
For more information, go to the Tropilaelaps mite section of the Plant Health Australia website.
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.
For more information, go to the Asian honey bee section of the Plant Health Australia website.
Tracheal mite is not currently present in Australia.
For more information, go to the Tracheal mite section of Plant Health Australia website.
Endemic diseases are notifiable diseases present in Australia. They may or may not be present in the NT.
Endemic honey bee diseases include:
American foulbrood was detected in the NT in 2019.
Find out how to detect and report 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.
For more information, go to the Small hive beetle section of the Plant Health Australia website.
Braula fly is only found in Tasmania and are not present on mainland Australia.
For more information, go to the Braula fly section of the Plant Health Australia website.
European foulbrood was detected in one NT apiary in 2016 and eradicated. It is present in most other states except Western Australia.
For more information, go to the European foulbrood section of the Plant Health Australia website.
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 National Bee Pest Surveillance Program on the Plant Health Australia website.
Other endemic and exotic pests important to the honey bee industry are listed below:
- Endemic pests
- 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))
- Exotic pests
- 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.
Last updated: 04 February 2020
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