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Beekeeper Groups Concerned About Hives

29 June 2006

Beekeeper Groups Concerned About Unregistered Hives

Leaders of New Zealand beekeeper groups are concerned that reticence shown by some owners of unregistered beehives in the Nelson region may jeopardise the varroa identification enterprise currently underway in that area.

Both Jane Lorimer, President of the National Beekeepers Association of New Zealand, and Lin McKenzie, chairman of Federated Farmers' Bee Industry Group, are urging owners of unregistered hives to take advantage of an amnesty being offered by Biosecurity New Zealand, and declare their hives so that inspection can take place.

"Survey results to date are reasonably encouraging that this incursion can be controlled and this would benefit all beekeepers," said Jane Lorimer.

"But if just one hive is missed, even with a small current incidence of varroa mite, the value of the entire exercise will be put in danger. In turn this will put many beekeeping operations in the South Island in danger of collapse."

Lin McKenzie agrees pointing out that it will be to the advantage of the wider beekeeping community as well as to the owners of unregistered hives if those owners come forward.

"The operation currently underway in Nelson, spearheaded by Biosecurity New Zealand can offer extensive practical and moral support at no cost to the beekeeper. However, if the investigation team is unaware of the ownership or existence of any hive, such help cannot be offered.

"Nor would the owner of that hive be entitled to receive any of the compensation that is available for losses incurred by any action taken under the Biosecurity Act. These actions could include movement controls or an eradication programme undertaken as a result of this incursion response."

Jane Lorimer also explained that the register is maintained as the basic tool for the American Foul Brood pest management strategy.

"Unregistered hives can mean that they are not being inspected as required and thereby jeopardising the success of that disease control programme which New Zealand beekeepers rely on," she said.

ENDS

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