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  • 23 Nov 2023 7:42 PM | Natalie Dixon (Administrator)

    The Department of Primary Industries and Regions together with the Beekeepers' Society of South Australia (BSSA) and the South Australian Apiarist Association (SAAA) are holding a varroa mite information session covering:

    • National Varroa Response Transition to Management plan
    • Management of varroa mite using IPM principles
    • Discussion around South Australia's preparations regarding varroa mite.

    The meeting will be held on Sunday the 26th of November from 3pm to 5.30pm at the Bridgeport Hotel in Murray Bride. You can register to attend in person or online session for free at

  • 23 Nov 2023 7:27 PM | Natalie Dixon (Administrator)

    Article taken from the ABC

    Reports of bee swarms in South Australia's South East have increased significantly after a "hectic" spring, but the ongoing threat of varroa mite to feral bee populations has potential to near-eradicate swarms in coming years.

    Pest controller and apiarist Sam Shaw said demand for swarmed bee removals has increased about tenfold from two or three calls per month a few years ago to 20 or 24 per month this year.

    "So far it's been pretty hectic," he said.

    "We've had a good spring so far. I know [the swarming season] came a bit later last year.

    "It just completely depends on the weather as well and it depends on how much room the queen has in a hive."

    Swarming creates new colonies

    Australian National University evolutionary biology professor Sasha Mikheyev said swarming was how honey bees reproduced.

    Professor Mikheyev said significant rainfall over the past three years had led to increased food for bees.

    "When conditions are good, the honey bees raise plenty of young. They have many new individuals and lots of food," he said.

    "That's when they decide that they can split and both halves of the original colony will keep growing. The mission is reproduction.

    "They've had opportunities over the past few years to build up their honey stores and also to build up their worker numbers.

    "What we're seeing now could be a manifestation of that."

    Although swarms more often form due to favourable conditions for bees, Professor Mikheyev said bees would also abandon a hive if it were diseased.

    In areas infected by varroa mite, this could lead to an increase in swarming behaviour.

    "If a colony is very heavily infested, they will sometimes fly off," Professor Mikheyev said.

    "Varroa tends to be around the brood and only a small fraction of them will go onto the honey bees and be transported, so swarming is a short-term solution for honey bees to deal with varroa."

    But in the long-term, scientists say the impact of varroa on feral European honey bees could reduce swarm frequency.

    "The swarms that we see now, we might not see quite as many of them a few years from now," Professor Mikheyev said.

    Domesticating swarms

    Mr Shaw said one benefit of beekeepers domesticating swarmed colonies was that it allowed for captured feral bee populations to be supervised more closely for varroa and other diseases.

    "We leave them for a week or so just to calm down and for them to get a bit settled, and then we'll do frequent inspections on them, usually weekly but maybe every fortnightly," he said.

    "We have to do yearly testing for varroa mite and any other hive diseases."

    Professor Mikheyev said national regulation for stricter management of supervised colonies, kept by both commercial and hobby beekeepers, would soon be enforceable.

    "They'll receive some sort of chemical treatment that will help keep the mites in check, otherwise the colonies will die," he said.

    "The feral bees of course will get no such treatment and it's not clear how many of them will die, but it's very likely to be more than 95 per cent."

    While swarms were typically timid, Mr Shaw advised people to stay away if they came across one.

    "It completely just depends on if they're aggressive or not," he said.

    "You'll find out pretty quick if you're walking past and they are aggressive.

    "Most of the time a swarm can just be resting there for a brief moment and they could be gone within a couple of hours." 

  • 4 Jul 2023 11:14 AM | James FIELD (Administrator)

    BBSA produces a bi-monthly magazine, Buzzword. Download edition 118 here.

  • 24 Nov 2022 8:58 AM | James FIELD (Administrator)

    Hi there,

    This afternoon PIRSA announced the varroa sampling program, targeted at beekeepers with 20 or more hives.

    SA beekeepers with 20 or more hives are being called on to play their part in protecting our state from Varroa mite by sampling 10% of their hives per apiary.

    Sampling hives gives PIRSA and industry confidence that SA is free of Varroa mite, and protects apiary businesses and associated pollination-dependent industries. The Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) is offering free sampling kits at a series of upcoming workshops across the state.

    At the workshops, beekeepers will receive their sampling kits, learn how to sample for Varroa mite and have the opportunity to ask questions.

    Workshop dates and locations:
    • Murray Bridge, 21 November, 6pm-7.30pm
    • Mt Gambier, 22 November, 6pm-7.30pm
    • Naracoorte, 23 November, 6pm-7.30pm
    • Keith, 24 November, 6pm-7.30pm
    • Loxton, 25 November, 6pm-7.30pm
    • Port Lincoln, 29 November, 6pm-7.30pm
    • Clare, 30 November, 6pm-7.30pm
    • Nuriootpa, 1 December, 6pm-7.30pm
    • Adelaide, 2 December, 6pm-7.30pm
    • Kangaroo Island, 6 December, 6pm-7.30pm.

    Media release

    Eventbrite link to register - Varroa mite sampling workshops Tickets, Mon 21/11/2022 at 6:00 pm | Eventbrite

    PIRSA Varroa web page –

    A post on PIRSA’s Facebook and Twitter

  • 4 Nov 2022 10:11 AM | James FIELD (Administrator)
    27 Aug 2022 2:14 PM | James FIELD

    BBSA produces a bi-monthly magazine, Buzzword. Download edition 115 here.

  • 16 Sep 2022 8:38 AM | James FIELD (Administrator)

    Just a BIG reminder that this year's Mount Barker  Show is upon us

    25th MARCH 2023

    It's that time of year again. The Mt Barker Show is upon us. We are looking for entries in honey (liquid, section comb), wax, honey on frames, anything, to be submitted for judging at the Mt Barker Show. As you know, these competitions are great fun and offer up all manner of bragging rights. This year is our 150th anniversary show and is going to be bigger and better than ever. I hope Our Society members can get lots of entries in.

     link to Show It has all the required entry regulations in it. Thanks for your support.

    From Crispin BOXALL

  • 15 Sep 2022 8:04 AM | James FIELD (Administrator)

    Members are invited to use this link to view submissions made to the senate regarding the effectiveness of the current biosecurity measures for foot and mouth and varroa. The BSSA have made a submission. 

  • 27 Aug 2022 2:14 PM | James FIELD (Administrator)

    BBSA produces a bi-monthly magazine, Buzzword. Download edition 114 here.

  • 13 Aug 2022 7:47 PM | James FIELD (Administrator)

    We had PIRSA come out to our Clovelly Park hives to demonstrate the alcohol wash method for Varroa testing. Have a look at the videos on facebook here

  • 3 Jul 2022 8:48 AM | James FIELD (Administrator)

    For those of you who want to read the most up to date information on the varroa incursion, the Australian Honey Bee Council are posting regular updates to their facebook page.

    Furthermore, PIRSA has provided the following information in relation to varroa and South Australia’s current response.

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Beekeepers’ Society of South Australia Inc.
P.O. Box 283, Fullarton SA 5063
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