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Nelson Varroa bee mite incursion – Update 8

Friday 21 July 2006

Nelson Varroa bee mite incursion – Update 8

Biosecurity New Zealand is carrying out a variety of activities in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions to preserve future varroa management options, Surveillance and Response Manager David Hayes said today.

Biosecurity New Zealand is developing three options, eradication, long-term control and beekeeper self-management. Government is expected to make a decision on which option it wishes to proceed with in the next few weeks.

Hive activity is low at this time of year. Hives that have tested positive for varroa have been treated and are being monitored. They are considered to pose a low risk.

Currently Biosecurity New Zealand has up to 15 teams in the field testing all the hives not previously tested in the controlled area. It is expected that testing of 13,000 hives should be completed in three weeks, weather permitting.

“Planning to preserve all options is still proceeding. This includes the development of a pollination plan, planning to depopulate managed hives, movement control modelling and the finalisation of a strategy for the treatment of feral hives.”

Biosecurity New Zealand is also working closely with stakeholders to minimise the impact on beekeepers and associated industries.

To date, there have been 42 confirmed sites infected with varroa – 40 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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