Varroa destructor is a pinhead-sized mite that parasitises honey bees and their brood. They can severely weaken the bees, and also carry damaging viruses.

Varroa mite numbers can build up in a hive of European honey bees over time, eventually killing the colony if chemical treatments or other management strategies are not applied. This results in a significant effect on large-scale honey production and the pollination of certain food crops.

Australia was the last honey-producing continent to remain free from the varroa mite. The varroa mite was declared endemic in Australia in September 2023.

It is essential that beekeepers monitor for mites, and if necessary apply treatments to support the health of their colonies.

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Varroa mite on a honeybee
Varroa mite close-up