Enhancements to the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program have delivered arange of valuable outcomes to support the health of Australia’s bees.

Head of biosecurity, at the Department of Agriculture, Water and theEnvironment, Lyn O’Connell, said the enhancements will help prevent incursionsof exotic bee pests and pest bees.

“Bee pollination supports our crop industries and food security, so we need tohave strong biosecurity measures in place to protect the health of our bees,”Ms O’Connell said.

“These enhancements will improve our surveillance, diagnostics, preparednessand response arrangements for key bee pests and viruses.

“40 upgraded catchboxes are being deployed in remote and restricted high-riskareas for pest bees, to allow us to capture and inspect bee swarms and expandour surveillance capacity.

“We are also investigating better options for Asian honey bee specificcatchboxes, to improve our targeted surveillance for this significant pestbee.

“Targeted floral sweep netting will be implemented at high-risk ports forAsian honey bees and other pest bees. This is another valuable tool to catchexotic bees and detect potential incursions.

“Extensive surveillance has been undertaken for bee viruses of significancefor Australia, including Acute Bee Paralysis Virus, Deformed Wing Virus, SlowParalysis Virus.

“No exotic viruses were found, demonstrating the health of Australia’s bees.Ongoing surveillance will be undertaken to support evidence-based proof ofabsence for these viruses.

“We are building national diagnostic skills across laboratories to support ourpreparedness and response activities for these key bee viruses.

“Our response to potential incursions will also be boosted through a newelectronic portal that will allow surveillance data to be captured and sharedin real-time.

“Biosecurity plays a vital role in supporting the health of Australia’s beesand these enhancements will help ensure the measures we have in place protectour bees now and into the future.”

The National Bee Pest Surveillance Program is jointly funded by thedepartment, Australian Honeybee Industry Council, Hort Innovation and GrainProducers Australia.

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