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Varroa Pest Management Strategy Approved

Varroa Pest Management Strategy Approved

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton today approved the National Pest Management Strategy with the objective of keeping the South Island free of the destructive varroa mite.

Mr Sutton said it had taken considerable work and consultation to arrive at this point.

"I hope the beekeeping industry will support the objective of keeping the South island free of varroa."

The strategy was proposed in November 2003 by a Varroa Planning Group, made up of organisations from the bee keeping, agriculture, and horticulture sectors as well as local government representatives.

Because submissions on the proposal indicated a lack of agreement, a Varroa Board of Inquiry was established in April this year to assist in taking into the account the varied and often dissenting views on the proposal.

The strategy is expected to be in place by the end of the year and incorporates inter-island movement controls on beekeeping materials, public education measures and a South Island varroa surveillance programme.

Mr Sutton said the strategy would be funded by South Island regional councils and South Island beekeepers.

Earlier this year MAF investigated suspected varroa finds in North Canterbury, Murchison and Gore. These finds did not result in the detection of any varroa, and may result from contamination in the sampling process and the South Island is still considered to be free of the varroa mite.

Copies of the Board of Inquiry report are available from http://www.maf.govt.nz/varroa.

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