Beekeepers, growers and the entire agriculture industry are staring down the barrel of massive changes to the entire sector, as the infamous Varroa mite takes hold of Australian bees.
While attempts were made to eradicate the mite, those attempts failed and the Department of Primary Industries has shifted to managing the mite rather than eradicating it from Australian shores.
The transition to management is not the end of bees in Australia, but will be an expensive and complicated endeavour for beekeepers -
Darlington Point beekeeper Jaye Hughes said that it was a huge turning point for Australian agriculture, with nearly all growers set to be impacted by the mite in some capacity.
Mr Hughes estimated that it would be less than two years before feral and wild bees are eliminated entirely - ensuring that agricultural pollination is only done by managed bees for hire.
"The way we've been beekeeping in Australia for 200 years has all gone now," he said.
The managed bee industry are also struggling, as beekeepers jump ship before the Varroa mite hits their hives.
Mr Hughes compared it to the exodus brought about by the millennium drought.
"AHBIC is trying to get an exit package set up for bees for anyone who wants to leave the industry ... Not this year, but next spring and then on, people will start seeing big changes. Even people with vegie patches - they'll start noticing there's no bees around," he said.
There is some good news however - with Australia benefitting from a headstart as the last country to face the mite.
"We got to see how other countries handled it, so that gives us a bit of a headstart. We're not going into it blind, and there's viruses associated with the mite that we haven't got yet," Mr Hughes explained.
Mr Hughes urged any backyard beekeepers to make sure they were registered with the DPI and keeping on top of any outbreaks as soon as they happen.
"If you're going to get a beehive, it's like getting a pet or any kind of animal. You need to know how to deal with it when it gets crook."
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