BEEKEEPERS hope swift emergency measures to contain a deadly parasite in NSW will be enough to spare the honeybee industry, a fourth-generation North East apiarist says.
Beechworth Honey co-founder Jodie Goldsworthy said beekeepers and industry groups were being kept up to date on the varroa mite outbreak, which was detected at Newcastle a week ago.
Ms Goldsworthy said despite the blow, she remained positive it could be contained.
"It's pretty saddening from our perspective with this incursion," she said.
"I've spent my whole life in this industry and we've talked about it (incursions), planned for it and done the training.
"From my perspective, we have to bunker down, follow through with the processes and trust the systems we have in place."
The varroa mite, a major honeybee parasite, was discovered in biosecurity surveillance hives at the Port of Newcastle on Wednesday.
The mite spreads viruses that cripple bees' ability to fly, gather food and pollinate crops.
The pest affects every other major beekeeping area in the world, but has never established itself in Australia.
The discovery has sent NSW into bee lockdown - with no honeybees allowed to be moved across the state - as authorities try to eliminate the parasite.
Ms Goldsworthy said beekeepers were prepared to follow the six-month NSW lockdown for a chance at eradication.
"Every beekeeper is very diligent and dedicated to the industry," Ms Goldworthy said.
"If they're told to do something, they always follow the instructions they're given."
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Ms Goldsworthy said all of their hives were in Victoria as was normal practice over winter.
She said ordinarily they would move to the Riverina in spring for pollination in almond orchards.
"Eradication is difficult and we have to hope it's achievable," she said.
"We knew it would bring unwelcome changes."
Ms Goldsworthy said the incursion had no impact on the availability of honey.
"From a honey perspective, it's a product we always have in storage," she said.
Since the early 20th century, the mites have spread from Asia to places including the US, Britain, New Zealand and Hawaii.
The potential impacts have been estimated at about $70 million to the Australian honeybee industry.
Varroa mites spread rapidly in New Zealand, where it was first detected in 2000.
Varroa mite is a parasite specific to two species of honeybee, and should not attack Australia's native bees, of which there are more than 2000 species.
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