THE almond pollination season will go ahead as state government's allow beekeepers to move their hives, despite fears it is no longer possible to eradicate the NSW Varroa mite outbreak.
The Victorian state government will issue permits to Victorian, Queensland and South Australian beekeepers, allowing them to enter the Sunraysia region once they have inspected their hives and confirmed they are free of the parasite.
The state's $524-million almond industry requires between 150,000 and 200,000 hives to pollinate crops every August, however there is still a blanket ban on NSW hives, which home almost half of the nation's commercial bees.
Victoria's chief plant health officer Rosa Crnov said the Sunraysia permit system has been extended to include South Australia and Queensland to ensure bees can be sourced for Victoria's valuable almond pollination to go ahead.
"We're doing all we can to support Victoria's almond producers and to keep Victoria free of varroa mite," Dr Crnov said.
"Our bee biosecurity team will be on the ground during the pollination season, inspecting hives and working with beekeepers to ensure hives arrive and leave in a healthy state."
The NSW government has also eased restrictions on its beekeepers, allowing for the movement of hives and production of honey outside the emergency zones, which allow for the almond orchids in the state's south to be pollinated.
At the same time, the NSW government has scaled back plans to euthanise bees stoking the belief among beekeepers that eradication of the deadly varroa mite is near impossible.
The Department of Primary Industries stated on its website that "widespread euthanasia of hives within the eradication (red) zone is currently on hold as intelligence is gathered by surveillance teams to better inform response priorities".
"Now that we've confirmed multiple infested sites, the priority is to establish the outer limits of the affected areas through targeted surveillance," a DPI spokesperson said.
Eradication zones were established around areas including Port of Newcastle, Bulahdelah, Seaham, Calga, West Wallsend, Wyong, North Arm Cove and Glen Oak, as the parasite was found to have spread.
"We know varroa mite is the biggest threat to honeybees worldwide and, while we remain focused on eradication, we also recognise the need to ensure business continuity for the state's $20.9 billion primary industries sector," NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders said.