IT IS only a matter of time before the varroa destructor mite finds its way to Australia and infects bees, keepers say.Australia is the only big beekeeping country not to have had honey bees infected by the mites, which have devastated honey production across the world.But the discovery of the Asian honey bee, which can be a host for the varroa mite, near Cairns has raised fears a sea border and tight quarantine might not be enough to protect the industry.The president of the NSW Apiaries Association, Billy Weiss, said that because Australia’s European honey bees had been quarantined from many pests and diseases, there would be no resistance to the varroa mite.”World honey production has decreased so it’s helping Australia because of firmer prices … however, beekeeping in Australia is getting harder … the drought has certainly affected a lot of our production and the health of bees,” he said.Mr Weiss, who has been in the industry for 40 years, is educating visitors to the Royal Easter Show about different types of honey, uses of bee products and bees’ importance in the food chain.”This is a great tool for the industry to educate the public as to the value of bees – they are essential to society and our food production,” he said.”I think the future for the bee industry is strong because of the greater need in the future for pollination and the greater recognition of bees for pollination as people realise that this is the key to our food production.”Honey and other bee products account for about $80 million a year, but the value in agricultural production is far greater, with a federal government report saying honey bees contribute between $4 billion and $6 billion.