Although we have been aware for what seems months that the majority of our beehives lay just within the varroa mite extermination zone around the Toronto area in Lake Macquarie, only on this past Monday 17/10/22 were those hives euthanised.
I should have prefaced this by saying I fully support the efforts to try to eradicate this pest, by all means necessary. We must at least try. I don’t have any respect for the beekeepers crying that they shouldn’t be euthanising the bees and saying we should just learn to live with the mite, I think it’s pretty selfish.
We are being compensated, for recreational beekeepers it will completely cover the RRP of bees and the hives. For commercial beekeepers such as us, the payments won’t really take into account the loss of production and the years it will take to build up again, however, I am grateful to live in Australia, as I expect many countries we’d just get nothing for compensation.
Although I was devastated on the day I saw my address come into the red zone on the map and to an extent still am, having had time to think on it logically without letting emotions impact judgement. As sad as it is to lose what is almost like a pet, the massive Australian honey industry is more important than the life of an insect that only lives for 30 days.
Flaws in the Process
I don’t know whether the DPI is not sharing the details or registered beekeepers with the teams from the Biosecurity department, or whether they have shared some details but just not entirely? The reason I say this is they had no idea my hives existed until I self-reported a bit over a week ago after getting suspicious why it was taking so long for them to come get my hives. I assumed because I was registered they’d have all my details and it was just a matter of waiting for them to contact me. If this happened to me, how many other beekeepers are assuming the same surely dozens or hundreds? I don’t have many other beekeeper friends but of those that I do have, several of them also have said they are yet to be contacted and have not self-reported and wondering what’s going on.
To their credit, I will say though, once they were made aware of my hives they were very fast to arrange an appointment only a few days later for their team to come and do what they needed to do, so at least that part was done very effectively. My respects to those workers and volunteers.
Where we are living now in Broke NSW, it is currently classed as a blue safe zone for bees, so once we receive the compensation payments we will aim to purchase bees and start again. We do have some hives in other places around the Hunter Region, but not many, the majority of ours are now gone.
Thanks For Your Support
Thanks to our customers who sent their good wishes on Facebook and Instagram after hearing about the loss of our hives, it’s appreciated.