Austrailian Bees banned by APHIS

Maybe A Virus, Maybe Not

By Alan Harman

 With little public fanfare, the United States has banned the importation of honey bee queens and package bees from Australia.

Minister Counselor (Agriculture) Simon Smalley at the Australian Embassy in Washington and a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (ASPHIS) both confirm the move made towards the end of last month.

Both say there is a “temporary suspension” of the imports, but the APHIS website has a one sentence reference that reads:

“Importation of honey bee queens and package bees from Australia is prohibited.”

But the halt is not because of the Asian bee incursion in northern Queensland as many expected but because of something called slow paralysis virus.

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