CATCH THE BUZZ
Aussie Bees Up For New Risk Assessment
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
[Docket No. APHIS-2010-0001]
Notice of Availability of a Draft Pest Risk Assessment on Honey
Bees Imported from Australia
AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.
ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.
SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service has prepared an evaluation of the pest risks
associated with the importation of honey bees from Australia. The draft
pest risk assessment considers potential pest risks involved in the
importation of honeybees into the United States from Australia after
concerns that exotic honey bee pathogens or parasites may have been
introduced into Australia. We are making the draft pest risk assessment
available to the public for review and comment.
DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before May
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
to submit or view comments
and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2010-0001, Regulatory Analysis and
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118,
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to
Docket No. APHIS-2010-0001.
Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on the
draft pest risk assessment in our reading room. The reading room is
located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure
someone is there to
help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Colin D. Stewart, Senior
Entomologist, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD
20737-1237; (301) 734-0774.
The regulations in 7 CFR part 322 restrict the importation,
interstate movement, and transit through the United States of bees,
beekeeping byproducts, and beekeeping equipment to prevent the
introduction of pests into the United States through the importation of
honeybees from approved regions. Australia is currently on the list of
approved regions from which adult honeybees maybe imported into the
United States under certain conditions.
In March 2002, APHIS issued a report assessing the risks of pest
introduction into the United States in imports of honey bees (Apis
mellifera L.) from Australia. The evaluation identified 15 pathogens
and pests of bees in that country, all of which occur in the United
States. The evaluation concluded that there were no quarantine-
significant honey bee pathogens or pests occurring in Australia.
In the 7 years since the completion of the evaluation for
Australian bees, new threats to the U.S. honey bee population have
emerged. The most prominent threat is Colony Collapse Disorder, a
mysterious syndrome characterized by the abrupt disappearance of a
colony's adult worker bee population, leaving a substantial population
of healthy brood, an absence of dead bees, and the delayed invasion of
hive pests and robbing of hive stores by neighboring colonies. A link
between the disorder, first reported in the United States in 2006, and
honey bee imports from Australia has been suggested. The May 2007
discovery of colonies of the Asian honey bee (Apis cerana) near Cairns,
Victoria, also has raised concerns that exotic honey bee pathogens or
parasites may have been introduced into Australia with the arrival of
this foreign bee. These developments suggest a need to reevaluate the
risks involved in importation of bees from Australia.
APHIS' review and analysis of the risks associated with the
importation of honey bees from Australia are documented in detail in a
draft pest risk assessment (PRA) titled, ``Evaluation of Pest Risks
Associated with Importation of Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L.) from
Australia'' (November 2009). Findings presented in the draft PRA state
that there are honey bee viruses present in Australia that are not
known to occur in the United States. The draft PRA concludes that
zoosanitary measures may be necessary to reduce the possibility of the
introduction of these viruses to the United States via the importation
of honey bees from Australia.
We are making the draft PRA available to the public for review and
comment. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before the
date listed under the heading DATES at the beginning of this notice.
The draft PRA and the comments received may be the basis for a future
change in the regulations.
The draft PRA may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in
our reading room (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing
Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the
reading room). You may request paper copies of the draft PRA by calling
or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-5573 Filed 3-12-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-S