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Completed project

Enhanced National Bee Pest Surveillance Program (MT16005)

Key research provider: Plant Health Australia
Publication date: Monday, December 13, 2021

What was it all about?

From 2016 to 2021, this investment delivered a nationally coordinated bee-pest surveillance program to help safeguard honey-bee and pollinator-dependent industries in Australia. It built upon the previous National Bee Pest Surveillance Program (MT12011) and continues with National Bee Pest Surveillance Program: Transition Program (MT21008).

Overall, the primary objective of the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program was to act as an early warning system to detect new bee pest or disease incursions, to provide the best chance of containment or eradication.

Key activities undertaken during the project were:

  • Regular collection and national collation of surveillance data relating to honey bee pests.
  • Data captured into the AUSPestCheck™, a database that provides summary information on plant health status.
  • Information provided for the National Animal Health Information System to assist meet Australia’s international reporting obligations.
  • Increased number of sentinel hives and catchboxes across Australia.
  • Inclusion of surveillance for exotic bee viruses.
  • Improved upon existing surveillance activities such as deployment of further remote catchboxes and increase in sweep netting activities at high-risk locations.

Surveillance was undertaken for 18 pests, and project activities included national coordination, deployment of sentinel hives and floral sweeping for bees at key ports around Australia. The project developed a range of new techniques and tools including improved catchboxes to support detection of swarms at remote locations, systems for enhanced data management, and diagnostic protocols.

Several levy industries were contributors to the work, and the program was part of the Hort Frontiers Pollination Fund. Hort Frontiers is Hort Innovation’s strategic partnership initiative, with more information available at


This project was part of the Hort Frontiers Pollination Fund and involved levy investment from the almond, apple and pear, avocado, macadamia, onion, prune, raspberry and blackberry, strawberry and vegetable industries.