Beekeepers who have been impacted by Varroa mite have been paid packages totalling more than $26.2 million in NSW - but there is a catch.
Any money they receive by the NSW Government as reimbursement for their hives being euthanised will be taxed.
"It's like the old saying if something is too good to be true, it usually is," said Crop Pollination Association president Steve Fuller.
Mr Fuller, who is the former NSW Apiarist Association president, said the reimbursed money was considered an income and was taxed accordingly.
"Beekeepers thought they would get a big cheque and now it's taxable, it's not as good as it looks," Mr Fuller said.
"People thought they would get in front."
Mr Fuller said the average commercial beekeeper would receive $1000 for each euthanised hive while recreational beekeepers would get $550 in what he describes as a "generous" package.
"I was against the decision, we should not have killed hives because now the industry has to pay it back, it's not free," he said.
"Someone will ultimately have to pay it back, which could mean more levees on honey for consumers.
"In the past four years we've had drought, fires, floods and now Varroa, we just can't keep reaching into that pocket."
In terms of what's next for the industry, Mr Fuller said they were transitioning to the management of Varroa mite.
On September 19, the National Management Group, driving the Varroa mite program across Australia, made the decision to shift the focus of the response from eradication to management.
This is despite $101 million spent to eradicate the mite.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) director general Scott Hansen said at the time, the department would move swiftly to transition its team and all its stakeholders to this new approach and would be providing information and support to the industry.
"The 2399 DPI people and staff from supporting agencies and industry in the Varroa mite response team have been working around the clock since last year on this program ... they have succeeded in delaying the spread of Varroa mite for more than a year which needs to be recognised," Mr Hansen said.
Mr Fuller said what happens in the transition phase was exactly the same as surveillance stage, the only difference was no eradication of bees.
"There is still reporting and doing everything like in the surveillance stage, except managing it," Mr Fuller said.
"The management can't kick in as we don't have a plan yet. Once we have a plan that everyone signs off, we can go to management."
On the NSW Department of Primary Industries Varroa mite emergency response webpage, it states the transition to the "new focus" of management would take time.
"Those who have sacrificed their bees for this response should know that their help has not be in vain and demonstrates industry's commitment to being part of the solution," the DPI states.
Now the NSW government in calling for expressions of interest from beekeeping supplies stores to stock approved miticides to help control Varroa mite.
Only miticides approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority will be available and suppliers will need to join the NSW DPI permit to be able to sell chemicals commercially.
"What we want once that happens is a record of the miticides distributed because unregistered beekeepers should not be allowed to use them and we don't want people using them willy nilly to build up resistance for the bees," Mr Fuller said.
To date the NSW Rural Assistance Authority has provided reimbursement to 3099 beekeepers who had their hives destroyed due to Varroa.
Of those a majority were recreational beekeepers with 2638 reimbursed, 332 commercial beekeepers in the eradication red zone and 129 commercial beekeepers in the surveillance purple zone.
In total 58,738 hives have been euthanised.
In the breakdown of the $26.2m, $5.9m has been disbursed to recreational beekeepers while $18.9m and $1.5m has been distributed to commercial beekeepers in red and purple zones respectively.
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