Swarm of honey bees stopped at sea

A swarm of Asian honey bees, Apis cerana, was recently detected and destroyed on a vessel bound for Darwin. Master of the MV Changsha, Captain Guy Hamilton, alerted the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) prior to arrival in Australia that the crew had found and treated a bee swarm attached to a shipping container leaving Benete Bay, Indonesia. DAFF Biosecurity officers met the vessel on arrival to ensure the bees and hive had been properly removed and destroyed.

Biosecurity Operations Division, First Assistant Secretary, Tim Chapman, praised the compliance and swift action of Captain Hamilton and his crew in managing the biosecurity risk posed by the bee swarm.

“Captain Hamilton already had a great understanding of our biosecurity processes and the importance of managing the risk of pests and diseases entering Australia,” Mr Chapman said.

“Our officers found no live bees as the crew had removed and destroyed the swarm while at sea.”

Mr Chapman said the quick response illustrated the importance of the role of industry and government working together to manage risks to Australia’s biosecurity.

“From time to time bees, termites and other insects will hitch a ride on cargo and vessels,” Mr Chapman said. “We have strategies in place to detect and treat them.

“This is another great example of biosecurity working with industry to manage risks offshore, at the border and onshore.”

Early detection and containment of a pest or disease is essential to prevent its spread and to maintain Australia’s enviable biosecurity status,” he said.

To report any suspected biosecurity risks contact DAFF on 1800 675 888.