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Mutant mites news to Minister

David Carter National Biosecurity Spokesperson

21 September 2000

Mutant mites news to Minister

"Jim Sutton's admission in Parliament today that that he had no knowledge of a Varroa bee mite resistant to Apistan puts the spotlight back on the Government's decision not to eradicate," National's Biosecurity Spokesperson David Carter said today.

"MAF chose Apistan to control the mite. But a mutant Varroa bee mite, resistant to this miticide, has emerged in the United States.

"This mutant strain has been common knowledge in New Zealand since August, but it is now obvious that neither Jim Sutton nor Marian Hobbs had a clue.

"This may help to explain why after 14 weeks consideration, the Government elected to control Varroa, ignoring pleas from beekeepers to eradicate.

"It seems the Ministers' ignorance leaves beekeepers exposed to the risk that they could be dealt a second blow as the mites become resistant to Apistan.

"What beekeepers wanted and needed was swift and informed action. What they've got is a lifetime of Varroa bee mite," David Carter said.

Ends

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