pests & diseases

Honeybee Diseases and Pests


If you observe mites of bees, an exotic bee or new bee pest or bee disease currently unknown in Australia  report immediately via the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881

All Notifiable Pests and Diseases of honey bees must be reported.  This is a legislated requirement in all states and territories and is included in the Code of Practice as reinforcement.


Read information about Honeybee Pests and Diseases on the links below

Submit a Brood Sample  Use this form when forwarding a sample to the Dept for clarification of a suspect problem in your hive.  Further information and links below.

Biosecurity Manual for the Honey Bee Industry”  Plant Health Australia (PHA) has published a 64 page, full colour Manual with information and descriptive photos on exotic & established pests affecting honey bees.   This can be download for free.

Some of the topics covered in this manual are:

  • Pests
  • Keeping Honey Bees Healthy
  • Pest Surveillance
  • Product Management
  • Biosecurity & Quality Assurance
  • Movement of Hives, Honey Bee Products & Equipment
  • Biosecurity Best Practice Checklist
  • Fact Sheets on Pests and Diseases.

Additional information on honeybee pests and diseases can be found on the following links: –


The Varroa mite is one of the most serious problems threatening honey bees in the world today.  Australia is now the only continent in the world that does not have the varroa mite.

If you see or suspect the presence of varroa mites in Australia, phone 13 25 23 immediately.

Asian Honey Bee

Honeybees not only produce honey, but play a vital role in the balance of nature, especially the pollination of agricultural crops, horticultural crops and the household garden.

In North Queensland there is an established pest population of Asian honey bees (Apis cerana, Java strain). To date it is still confined to North Queensland (from north of Mossman to Tully in the south and west to Dimbulah) but has the potential to rapidly spread to the rest of Australia, especially by transportation on land or by sea.  There are a number of Asian bees throughout the world, but this particular strain of Asian bee (Java strain) has unfavourable attributes.  It is very flighty which makes it very difficult to box into hives and manage for honey production or for pollination of crops.  It also creates quite small nests, swarms prolifically and produces only small amounts of honey.  It will swam into small cavaties such as letter boxes and small bird nests and in the Solomon Island, has all but wiped out the European Honeybee population.

In Australia it has been estimated that every third mouthful of food we eat requires pollination by honeybees.  Without European honeybees, our food supply in Australia would be greatly diminished.  Many of our agricultural and horticultural crops are either totally dependent on or greatly benefit from honeybee pollination.

The Asian bee is the natural host of the devastating varroa mite.  Australia is now the only continent in the world that does not have this mite.  Fortunately, the swam of Asian bees that landed in Cairns in 2007 from a boat was not carrying this mite.  However, two new bee incursion came into Townsville in 2016 and 2019 and varroa mites (Varroa jacobsoni) were found in both incursions.  Thankfully, through diligence, the first incursion has been eradicated and the second incursion is now working through a “proof of freedom” stage with the National Varroa Mite Erradication Program.

The asian bee is now endemic in the known infested areas in North Queensland but there are no known varroa mites.  As the asian bee is the natural host of the Varroa mite (Varroa jacobsoni), report immediatley ANY different looking bees, nests or swarms, especially outside of the known infected areas, by phoning 13 25 23.   DAF information sheets can be read here – September 2019November 2019 and January 2020.

Small Hive Beetle

American Foulbrood Diseases (AFB)

**** Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, American foulbrood is prescribed as restricted matter category 1. This means that you must report it as soon as you become aware of its presence and you must not take any action that may worsen the biosecurity risk posed by American foulbrood. You must also take action to minimise the risk, such as controlling the disease and preventing it from spreading within your apiary and to other apiaries.

European Foulbrood Disease (EFB)




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