Monday, November 30, 2009

Outbreak of Deadly Bee Mite 'Inevitable' in Australia

Ben Cubby, The Age (Australia), 11/29/09

There is a very good reason why the honey produced by Australia's bees is considered to be among the world's cleanest and most delicious.

The country is one of the last in the world to resist the insidious encroachment of the Varroa mite, a pinhead-sized insect that has devastated bee populations around the world in the past 30 years.

Australia's sea border and some original quarantine methods have kept the deadly mite at arm's length.

The nation's apiarists manage their hives without the armoury of chemical sprays that keep bees in Europe, North America and most other places alive. Honey in Australia is still the product of bees doing what they do, with a minimum of human interference.

But the latest report from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, reflecting mainstream opinion on the topic, says an outbreak of Varroa mites here is ''almost inevitable''…

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