New resources for bee surveillance training

March 28, 2023

Government Apiary Officers are better equipped to deliver surveillance activities under the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program (NBPSP), as a result of newly developed resources from Plant Health Australia (PHA).

The ‘how to’ videos based on NBPSP Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), are designed to improve consistency in bee surveillance activities, including the collection of pest presence and absence data to support international reporting and proof of freedom claims.

During the production of the videos, PHA’s Bee Biosecurity Project Officer, Kathryn Pagler, travelled to Port Kembla with New South Wales Department of Primary Industries’ Bee Biosecurity Officer Surveillance, Mark Page, to film at the sentinel hives. The three videos demonstrate:

  1. sticky mat and acaricide application
  2. bee collection for diagnostics (tracheal mite, virus and genetic diagnostics)
  3. honey collection for maximum residue level (MRL) analysis.

These surveillance videos are incorporated into a Bee Biosecurity training course hosted on PHA’s Biosecurity Online Training (BOLT) platform. Additional course resources include more videos on bee surveillance activities developed by the jurisdictions, permits, safety data sheets, sample submission forms, a package of SOPs and an electronic version of the NPBSP Quick Reference Guide (QRG).

The QRG, designed for use in the field, features a pest and disease identification key, factors to consider prior to conducting surveillance activities (i.e. materials needed, cleaning and disinfecting), recording data and labelling, surveillance activity protocols, and diagnostic sample preparation and delivery. The QRG enables government Apiary Officers to review their surveillance methodology and enables on the go potential pest identification.

These resources were developed as part of a project funded by the Australian Government, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).