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Varroa Update 11

August 16 2006

Varroa Update 11

Biosecurity New Zealand will put out the draft management plan to South Island beekeepers for their comment this week, says Paul Bolger, Senior Policy Analyst with Biosecurity New Zealand.

The government has allocated $3.2 million to be spent over the next four years on a management programme to slow the spread of the varroa mite within the South Island and limit its impacts.

“We have already started a programme of repeat treatment of all infected hives in the controlled area. This strategy underpins the movement control plan that was presented to Government. We are also destroying feral hives in the infested area that have been reported by the public.

Biosecurity New Zealand will work with beekeepers to establish movement control lines to minimise the spread as much as possible while limiting the disruption to beekeeping operations. The Controlled Area placed over the upper South Island on 16 July will be revised to focus more tightly on the infested area around Nelson. Inside the Controlled Area, more intensive controls will be placed on three infested zones (Nelson, Tapawera, Pelorus Bridge. Movement controls on other hives within the controlled area will be relaxed to permit movement of hives for horticultural pollination.

Consultation meetings will be held at regional centres throughout the South Island in the week beginning 21 August. Beekeepers will be advised of dates times and venues this week.

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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