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Varroa national pest management strategy in place


Varroa national pest management strategy in place

A National Pest Management Strategy for varroa takes effect from today, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said.

The key objective of the pest management strategy is to keep the South Island varroa-free. It primarily funds a surveillance programme.

Varroa is a parasitic bee mite first discovered in Auckland in 2000. It has spread throughout the North Island, but has yet not crossed Cook Strait.

The strategy will be run by the Varroa Agency Incorporated, a group made up of beekeeping industry organisations and South Island local government. All of the South Island's regional and unitary councils except one have agreed to pay around 75% of the required funding, with beekeepers raising the remainder through a hive levy.

The strategy is expected to cost $730,000 per year.

The new agency will take over responsibility for inter-island movement controls on bees and beekeeping materials, raise public awareness of varroa, and survey the South Island each year for signs of a varroa outbreak.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and central Government will be responsible for responding to any outbreaks of varroa in the South Island, and associated costs.

To date, the government has spent over $10 million on varroa, and continues to fund varroa research in the North Island.

Mr Sutton said it was a triumph of co-operation and consultation that we had got to the point where a national pest management strategy could be implemented.

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