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Kick any hitchhiking bees out of holiday vehicles

21 December, 2001 Release 04/01 MEDIA RELEASE

Kick any hitchhiking bees out of those holiday vehicles

Unwelcome migrants can be avoided if holiday motorists check vehicles and caravans to keep hitchhiking bees infected with the Varroa mite from spreading to uninfected sites.

“Varroa has now been with us for 20 months. It has destroyed many hives and has changed apiary management for ever,” the National Beekeepers' Association President, Don Bell said today.

“Progress has been made in learning how to deal with the mite over the last year. But precautions are still essential. This is the Foot and Mouth Disease of bees, and anything we can do to stop it spreading further is welcomed.

“If unchecked, the mite will destroy millions of dollars worth of potential export income. Without pollination, pastures, crops, fruit and vegetables simply won’t mature, and thus reduce our export earnings and New Zealand’s standard of living,” Don Bell explained.

"Movement controls for bees and apiary products are keeping infected bees north of the boundary line from Taranaki to East Cape. This is designed to keep the southern North Island and South Island free of Varroa for as long as possible.

"With the Christmas break just about to start today many people are expected to travel through the North Island and on the Cook Straight ferries.

“We hope these traveller’s will be vigilant. We are desperately hoping if people find a bee or bees in their cars, motor homes, caravans, trucks and vans that they chase them out.

“This is especially important for people travelling south. By leaving bees north of Taupo, New Plymouth and Whakatane, the travelling public will be doing their bit to slow the spread and thus help all primary industry in New Zealand.

“It is tough enough earning a dollar from beekeeping. The longer those beekeepers who don’t have to contend with Varroa can continue to work without the added overheads caused by the vicious disease, the better off New Zealand will be.

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year, but I remind them again, please leave those hitchhiking bees behind," concluded Mr. Bell.

Ends…/ For further information: Don Bell 03 318-3869 Tim Leslie 04 473-7269 or 021 544-070


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