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Suspect varroa in South Island

Friday 4 June 2004

Suspect varroa in South Island

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has imposed movement controls on the North Canterbury region following the detection of the bee pest Varroa destructor.

MAF Varroa Programme Coordinator Paul Bolger said that final confirmation of the origin of the mite will not be available until early next week. Nevertheless MAF is taking a precautionary approach.

“A varroa mite was discovered on Friday 4 June in laboratory samples from MAF’s routine exotic disease surveillance activities. The samples are believed to come from a hive in the North Canterbury region.

“In order to determine whether any other hives are also infected, MAF exotic disease investigators will trace the movement of any hives on and off the property and will contact other beekeepers in the region.”

“Beekeepers need to be aware that bees and hives must not be moved into, out of or within the North Canterbury region, without MAF’s permission. The controlled region is made up of the Christchurch City Council area, and the Selwyn, Waimakariri, and Bank’s Peninsula District Council Regions. This area is bounded to the south by the Rakaia River and in the north by the Kowai River – Ashley Forest region.”

“Since varroa arrived in the North Island, the spread of varroa to the South Island has always been considered a risk, and an active surveillance programme was put in place to ensure the early detection of the pest,” he said.

Once MAF confirms the nature of the incursion, management and eradication options will be considered.

Following the discovery of varroa in the North Island in 2000, MAF has imposed inter-island movement controls.

ENDS

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