Importing honey bees from Australia has grown in recent years as a way to augment U.S. bee production.


But domestic beekeepers have become concerned that the imported bees may be a source of diseases, including the not-well-understood colony collapse disorder.


In 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture identified 15 pathogens of bees in Australia but concluded none were quarantine-signficant.


The USDA has revisited the situation and found there are honey bee viruses present in Australia that may need sanitary measures to reduce the possibility that they will be introduced into U.S. colonies.


The agency is seeking written comments on its findings.


To read the complete notice in the Federal Register, click here.