Autumn is the time to inspect your beehives for mites

NSWDPI sugar shake

It’s sugar shake season!

Autumn is Sugar Shake Season, a joint initiative between NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), Amateur Beekeepers Association NSW, and NSW Apiarists Association to promote awareness and surveillance for exotic bee mites in Australia. During autumn, all beekeepers are encouraged to perform a sugar shake test and submit their results to NSW DPI.

How to conduct a sugar shake test

Watch this short video to learn how to perform your own sugar shake test?

Submit your results

Once you have conducted your sugar shake test submit your results via the NSW DPI online form.

Recording negative results are just as important as positive detections as they help to prove ongoing freedom of exotic bee pests in NSW.

Why is widespread surveillance important to the bee industry?

Regular surveillance is essential to identifying the occurrence of new bee pests early and ensuring actions can be taken to eradicate or minimise the impact of these pests on the industry and environment. The health of the beekeeping industry is important in itself, but also has flow-on effects to pollination-reliant industries and the wider community that benefit from healthy hives, their products and services they provide. Autumn is an ideal time to conduct hive inspections and is the perfect opportunity to also conduct a sugar shake test.

Requirement under the Code of Practice

On July 1 2020, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice became mandatory in NSW. Part of the Code includes compulsory inspections twice a year for exotic bee pests, including mites.

Mite inspections can be performed in one of three ways, sugar shake testing being one. Conduct your sugar shake test this autumn and fulfil your inspection obligations.

Where to get a sugar shake kit

Sugar shake kits are relatively cheap, simple, reusable devices that can easily be purchased from beekeeping supply stores, or alternatively make your own.

Clean your kit!

Your sugar shake kit can be re-used for multiple inspections, though be sure to clean your sugar shake kit between different hives and apiaries. This is important to minimise the risk of spreading infectious bee diseases such as American Foulbrood (AFB) between hives and bees.

Think you’ve found Varroa?

If you conduct your test and suspect Varroa or other exotic pest, save the sample and report it immediately to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881. Alternatively, submit a report and photos through the online reporting form.

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