I’m off again to help in the effort to control the outbreak of Varroa in NSW. Volunteer beekeepers from across the country and support staff are all working hard on this job. Lets hope that Australia is the first country to eliminate this nasty mite from its shores.
Being involved is important and interesting work and you have a chance to meet some good people. I know of five Victorians who have volunteered and joined others from NSW and Queensland. If you are an experience beekeeper and have the time, come and join the effort. You need to be a member of the VAA or a beekeeping club that is affiliated to the VAA. This is to ensure you have insurance cover while volunteering. All costs are covered.
I cant talk about the work in detail as we have been asked to keep it confidential. I can outline the work involved in general terms.
We are up early and transported to a meeting site for briefing and formed into teams of 2 support people from NSW Volunteer Fire Service, 1 or 2 beekeepers and one supervisor. Normally there are between 10 to 12 teams. All the gear required is prepacked and ready to go. We then travel to a number of apiaries within the surveillance zones to undertake alcohol testing of hives. At the apiaries a set procedure is followed to ensure good sampling of bees and that we enter and leave the sites clean.
Volunteering is in 5 day work blocks and travel to and from Victoria is another 2 days.
The whole process is well organised with lots of people in the background working hard. NSW DPI and all those involved are to be congratulated for their effort and hard work.
For up to date information go to the DPI website. The outbreak is a good reminder for all the beekeepers to refresh their biosecurity skills and test their hives regularly. The online BOLT course is very worthwhile and is currently free.