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South Island Varroa Update

8 June 2004

South Island Varroa Update

No further signs of the bee pest Varroa destructor were found in hives tested over the weekend following the discovery of a single mite on a North Canterbury property on Friday 4 June.

Paul Bolger, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Varroa Programme Coordinator said that approximately 100 hives have been checked and no further mites were found. Testing of all hives owned by the beekeeper will continue over the next week, followed by testing of hives within 10 kilometres of the initial detection.

“Weather conditions over the weekend were quite challenging and investigators had to clear snow from some hives before testing. The assistance and cooperation from the beekeeper and beekeeping industry has been invaluable.”

In the meantime movement controls on beehives in the North Canterbury region will remain in place. MAF exotic disease investigators are tracing the movement of hives on and off the affected property and contacting other beekeepers in the region.

“Beekeepers need to be aware that bees and hives must not be moved into, out of or within the North Canterbury region, without MAF’s permission. The controlled region is made up of the Christchurch City Council area, and the Selwyn, Waimakariri, and Bank’s Peninsula District Council Regions. This area is bounded to the south by the Rakaia River and in the north by the Kowai River – Ashley Forest region.”

“Since varroa arrived in the North Island, the spread of varroa to the South Island has always been considered a risk, and an active surveillance programme was put in place to ensure the early detection of the pest,” he said.

Beekeepers wanting to move hives or beekeeping equipment within the controlled area need to apply for a movement permit by calling 04 526 5683

ENDS

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