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Organic Varroa Bee Mite Controls Now Available

Two new options are being made available to beekeepers for control of the varroa bee mite after the approval of Acting Agriculture Minister Paul Swain was gazetted today.

The products are formic acid 85% and oxalic acid dihydrate. The products are cheaper than synthetic chemicals and are also acceptable to organic certification agencies.

Mr Swain said the approval provided a breakthrough for beekeepers in their battle with varroa.

"Every effort has been taken to ensure beekeepers have these options available to them as part of their arsenal and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will continue to work with beekeepers to assist them to develop new management and control strategies."

Approval has been granted by Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton and supported by MAF, the Animal Remedies Board and the Pesticides Board, after a successful technical assessment. Approval has been made under the Animal Products (Ancillary and Transitional Provisions) Act 1999.

Both formic acid and oxalic acid dihydrate are naturally occurring in honey at low levels.

At this time use of either product is conditional on compliance with a code of practice provided by MAF's Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Group. A key requirement is that neither product should be applied when honey boxes are on beehives.

In addition MAF has published a guidebook for control of varroa with detailed instructions on use of the products. The varroa guidebook has been distributed to beekeepers throughout New Zealand. Copies of the guidebook are available by writing to:Paul Bolger Varroa Programme Coordinator MAF Biosecurity Authority PO Box 2526 WELLINGTON

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