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Nelson Varroa bee mite incursion – Update 2

DATE 22 June 2006

Nelson Varroa bee mite incursion – Update 2

Testing of hives associated with apiaries infected with varroa bee mite is continuing and another nine apiaries are suspected to be infected with the Varroa bee mite, Biosecurity senior policy analyst Paul Bolger said today.

Biosecurity New Zealand launched an immediate response after a national surveillance programme for the varroa bee mite confirmed the presence of varroa at two sites near Stoke in the Nelson region on Friday 16 June. A further eight infected sites were confirmed earlier this week.

The new finds are still in and around Nelson city. Current testing is concentrated on all hives in a 10km radius of the original infected apiaries.

“It was expected that more mites would be found following the initial discovery and that has proved to be the case. We expect to locate more infected apiaries over the next week.

The degree of spread will largely determine what management options can be considered.

“No decision on the feasibility of eradication or other management options can be made
until the degree of spread is known. Bad weather is forecast over the next few days and this may impact on the time it will take to complete the survey.” Mr Bolger said.

Varroa is an unwanted organism that kills bees. It was first detected in 2000 in Auckland. By the time it was detected, it had spread too far for eradication to be feasible. Instead, the government put in place a programme to slow the spread in the North Island and try and keep the South Island free of the pest.

A controlled area declaration under section 131 (2) of the Biosecurity Act 1993 has been declared on the following Territorial Authorities: Buller, Marlborough, Tasman Districts and the Nelson City. Movement of all honey bees and related beekeeping materials and products and equipment will require a permit.

Permits can be obtained by calling 0800 80 99 66.

ENDS

To report a suspected exotic pest or disease, call the Emergency Hotline on 0800 80 99 66.

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