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Nelson Varroa bee mite incursion – Update 4

Nelson Varroa bee mite incursion – Update 4

Varroa response survey teams yesterday started testing apiaries near Hokitika associated with varroa infected apiaries in the Nelson area, Biosecurity New Zealand senior policy analyst Paul Bolger said today.

As of today, 28 apiaries in Nelson region have been confirmed as varroa-infested, as have a further two apiaries at Tapawera, 30 km south-west of Nelson. seven additional Nelson apiaries are suspected to be infested, but laboratory confirmation is pending.

Biosecurity New Zealand launched an immediate response after a national surveillance programme for the varroa bee mite confirmed the presence of varroa at two sites near Stoke in the Nelson region on Friday 16 June 2006.

Biosecurity New Zealand now has 10 teams in the field – each team comprising of beekeepers and specialist Agriquality staff. Survey teams will continue to widen their search for the mite in the Nelson areas as well as testing over 500 ives in the Hokitika area.

Varroa is an unwanted organism that kills bees. It was first detected in 2000 in Auckland. By the time it was detected, it had spread too far for eradication to be feasible. Instead, the government put in place a programme to slow its spread in the North Island and to try and keep the South Island free of this pest.

A controlled area declaration under section 131 (2) of the Biosecurity Act 1993 has been declared on the following Territorial Authorities: Buller, Marlborough, Tasman Districts and the Nelson City. Movement of all honey bees and related beekeeping materials and products and equipment will require a permit. Permits can be obtained by calling 0800 80 99 66.

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