Australia has abandoned its fight to eradicate the destructive Varroa mite, responsible for the collapse of honeybee populations across the planet including here in NZ. Desperate to keep Varroa out of the country, authorities destroyed more than 14,000 infected beehives since the tiny red-brown pest was first detected north of Sydney in June 2022. The government this week conceded its US$64 million eradication plan could not stop the mite from spreading, saying the country’s beekeepers should now prepare to live with the incursion. Australia was one of the last major beekeeping countries to successfully keep Varroa at bay. Varroa mites attach themselves to honeybees and slowly feast on their body tissue from the outside—eventually spreading through hives and causing colony collapse.