Saturday, August 20, 2022

Bee bug reaches blueberry fields: NSW Farmers

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NSW Farmers’ Association, Media Release, 26 July 2022

Blueberry and avocado growers on the Coffs Coast are concerned about the arrival of Varroa mite in the region.

Local NSW Farmers Coffs Harbour Branch Chair Paul Shoker said Varroa mite had been detected in hives near Nana Glen, and were linked to the Newcastle outbreak.

“It’s a bit of a worry for our farmers as we approach pollination time, without bees we can’t produce avocados or blueberries, or a lot of other crops for that matter,” Mr Shoker said.

“We understand the Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services are doing their part to keep the outbreak under control, we just need everyone else to do the right thing as well.

“Community reporting is a vital part of control measures, and people should continue to report the locations of any hives, both managed hives and wild hives, they might be aware of.”

The majority of Australia’s blueberries are grown on the Coffs Coast each year, but the region is also a major growing area for other fruits and vegetables, including avocados.

NSW Farmers Biosecurity Chair Ian McColl said the latest detections underscored the importance of Australia having a strict, sustainably-funded biosecurity system.

“Biosecurity controls are about more than a tourist’s thongs, there are numerous threats to Australia’s farms, environment and economy,” he said.

“We remain concerned about the Varroa mite outbreak, particularly with it reaching one of the country’s biggest blueberry growing areas.

“This is a timely reminder that one simple incursion – such as what happened with Varroa mite – can have far-reaching consequences.”

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