Departmental news

Bee on the lookout for Asian honey bees

News release | 20 November, 2012

Biosecurity Queensland is calling on the Far North Queensland community to report Asian honey bees found outside of the known infested area.

The current known infested area of Asian honey bees surrounding the Cairns region extends from the edges of Port Douglas down to South Johnstone and west to Biboohra, Atherton and Malanda.

Biosecurity Queensland´s Asian honey bee program manager, Russell Gilmour said the program is looking for nests and swarms outside of the known infested area to help track and minimise the spread of the pest bee.

"Asian honey bees are expected to slowly spread through the natural movement of the bee and we need help from the community to alert us to where they are," he said.

"We are currently surveying towns including Mossman, Daintree, Dimbulah, Ravenshoe, Tully and surrounding areas to determine the current spread of the pest.

"I encourage the community to report nests and swarms found around these towns as it will not only help to slow the pest spreading in the region but also gives Biosecurity Queensland scientists opportunities to learn more about the bee.

"We are also on the look-out at ports and marinas visited by international vessels, as they are high-risk areas for new bee incursions.

"Any bees entering Australia could be carrying pests or diseases that are not present here.  Early detection will help us respond more effectively and limit the impact of any new incursion.

"If you see a bee swarm around a port or marina, please report them to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or use our online reporting tool at www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au  

Mr Gilmour said residents who live within the known infested area should call a pest controller if they feel threatened by Asian honey bees.

"Pest controllers and local government agencies have been working with Biosecurity Queensland to learn effective tools to manage the pest bee," he said.

"If a nest or swarm of Asian honey bees is endangering you or your family, please call a local pest controller to have it removed.

"In 2011, it was determined by the National Management Group that it was not feasible to eradicate Asian honey bees in Australia. The Asian honey bee program is now in a ´transition to management´ phase, which means undertaking research and developing strategies and tools to help affected parties manage this exotic bee and minimise its impacts."

For more information on Asian honey bees and a map of the known infested area, visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.

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Media contact: Dusk Johnston, 07 3087 8600