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Nelson Varroa bee mite incursion – Update7

DATE Friday 7 July 2006

Nelson Varroa bee mite incursion – Update7

Biosecurity New Zealand’s Varroa response team met with stakeholders in Nelson this morning (Friday 7 July), senior policy analyst Paul Bolger said today. The meeting was attended by representatives from the beekeeping, horticulture, arable and pastoral sectors, as well as from local government and iwi.

“Biosecurity New Zealand presented the range of possible future management options it is considering, including eradication and long-term control. It also provided stakeholders with a chance to review the information gathered over the past three weeks, and give feedback on each option.

“We were pleased with the input from stakeholders and this will be invaluable as we weigh up the merits, feasibility and cost effectiveness of each option,” Paul Bolger said.

“Early next week the team will present this updated information to Biosecurity New Zealand’s chief technical officer, who will make a recommendation to the Minister for Biosecurity Jim Anderton. The Minister will then consult his Cabinet colleagues if additional government funding is required. This process may take several weeks.”

Because hive activity is low at this time of year, risks of immediate varroa spread are also low. However MAF will work with beekeepers to ensure disruption to beekeeping activities is minimised as far as possible, until a final decision is made.

To date there have been 41 confirmed sites infected with varroa – 39 within the 10km zone around Nelson and two at Tapawera – 30km from Nelson.

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.

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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