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Varroa Incursion A Huge Blow

16 June 2006
Varroa Incursion A Huge Blow

An incursion of varroa in the Nelson area of the South Island is a huge blow to the bee industry, said Lin McKenzie, chair of the New Zealand Bee Industry Group.

The New Zealand Bee Industry Group is an industry group of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc), representing commercial and hobbyist beekeepers.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry notified us today about the incursion. The Bee Industry Group will work with MAF to support movement control restrictions,” Mr McKenzie said.

“We have to be as positive as we can at this early stage, but we will be deeply disappointed if varroa is unable to be eradicated from the area.

“MAF has estimated that the spread of varroa to the South Island would cost $314 million over 35 years with the bulk of the impact hitting the pastoral sector. The varroa bee mite not only threatens the livelihood of beekeepers, but primary industry sectors dependent on honey-bee pollination services,” said Mr McKenzie.

The Bee Industry Group annual conference is being held next week in Ashburton. This incursion will be high on the agenda.

The varroa mite, (varroa destructor) is an external parasite of honey bees that attacks adult bees and their developing larvae, weakening and killing honeybee colonies.

ENDS


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