No honey bees for the foreseeable future
The Peninsula is not likely to have European honey bees for the foreseeable future.
The Peninsula currently has one of the highest varroa mite detection rates in the State, according to the Department of Primary Industry.
The varroa mite has been detected 62 times in the "Patonga Parish", which covers the Peninsula, since June 2022.
"Positive infestations" have been reported in the last three weeks "in nearby Empire Bay and Terrigal".
The Department said there were no projections or expectations for the return of honey bees to the area "at this stage".
"The absence of wild European honey bees in the area is likely a combination of factors," the Department said in a statement to Peninsula News.
These included "the removal of managed hives in the area and the impact that varroa mite is having on the wild European honey bee colonies now that it has established itself across the region."
"There is potential for wild European honey bee populations to decline across NSW as varroa continues to spread nationally."
The area of high detections centred around Gosford now has a similar extent to the Newcastle high detection area, initially the centre of varroa mite infection.
The Department's website states that the focus of the varroa mite response has shifted from eradication to "management".
The aim of the management program is "to work to increase resilience and capacity to manage varroa mite within the Australian honey bee industry".
It would "minimise ongoing impacts of varroa mite naturalisation on the bee industry and pollination-reliant industries".
"This will occur through slowing the spread, building industry resilience, provide management options and supporting pollination security."
Under the management program, the Department no longer requires the mandatory euthanasia of hives.
Where previously prohibited, the management program allows movement of bees, hives and permitted bee feeders out of the Hunter-Central Coast "Management" zone under a Biosecurity Emergency Movement Permit.
More information is available on the Department's website at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa.
Media statement, 19 Jan 2024
Sim Madigan, DPI