AGRICULTURE Victoria is warning apiarists not to use unregistered chemicals in an attempt to control small hive beetle.
Recent intelligence indicates that some apiarists are resorting to using unregistered products containing diatomaceous earth within bee hives.
Small hive beetle can taint honey making it unsuitable for sale and unacceptable to bees themselves as a source of food.
The beetle also eats honey, pollen and live honey bee brood and can damage wax comb and cell caps. In worst case scenarios entire colonies may abscond.
Agriculture Victoria statewide chemicals specialist Steven Field said some of the illegal products being used weren’t even food grade and could contain significant levels of contaminants like heavy metals.
Under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992 it is illegal to use an unregistered chemical unless the user holds appropriate authorisation.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re using an insecticide, fungicide or other type of product – any person in Victoria must only use agricultural or veterinary chemicals registered by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority,” Mr Field said.
“The APVMA registration process means the public can be assured that chemicals used on their food are safe when used in accordance with the label,” he said.
“No one in the apiary industry wants to jeopardise the clean and green image of Australian honey by illegally using unregistered chemicals.”
There are several products registered with the APVMA that contain diamotaceous earth, also known as amorphous silica.
Some of these products may be available for off label use under Victoria’s regulatory framework, providing the user observes any prohibitive label statements.
Anyone using agricultural chemicals off label must ensure they take appropriate steps to minimise the risks to efficacy, OHS, the environment or residues in honey.
For more information see http://go.vic.gov.au/vuhXMe
For further information on bee pests and diseases;
• Pests and diseases of honey bees – http://go.vic.gov.au/dhR2Kh
• Small hive beetle – http://go.vic.gov.au/aHsKe1
• Plant Health Australia Website – Bee Aware – http://beeaware.org.au/