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Nelson Varroa bee mite incursion – Update 3

DATE 23 June 2006

Nelson Varroa bee mite incursion – Update 3

Following continued testing for the varroa bee mite in the Nelson area, another two apiaries are suspected to be infected. This brings the total number of apiaries suspected or confirmed as infected with varroa to 20, 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 2006.

Eighteen suspected apiaries have been confirmed by the testing laboratories and the latest two finds are expected to be confirmed by the laboratories in the next two days.

One of the new finds is outside the 10km radius placed around the site of the original infected apiaries. To date, survey efforts have been concentrated within the 10km radius zone. But one of the latest finds is in an apiary belonging to one of the biggest beekeepers in the area who has hives throughout the Nelson region.

Biosecurity New Zealand’s survey teams expect to find more apiaries infected with the mite.

While the latest finds have decreased the feasibility of an eradication attempt, no decisions will be made on future management options until surveying is completed.

Surveying will now concentrate on apiaries outside the 10km radius zone that are associated with infected apiaries inside the zone.

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 its spread in the North Island and to try and keep the South Island free of this 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

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