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Nelson varroa bee mite incursion update #19

15 August 2007

Nelson varroa bee mite incursion update #19

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) surveillance completed in July confirmed varroa has not spread outside of the Controlled Area at the top of the South Island.

“More than 5,000 hives at over 300 apiary sites in Marlborough within a band approximately 50 kilometres wide below the southern boundary of the Nelson-Marlborough Controlled Area were tested, with no positive finds outside of the Controlled Area and only two finds within the Controlled Area, near Canvastown,” said Richard Norman, MAFBNZ Incursion Response Manager.

“Moderate levels of infestation were detected in several hives at one apiary site to the east of Pelorus Bridge at the start of the surveillance period. All other samples from this beekeeping operation have tested negative. This operation has apiary sites only within the Controlled Area.

“The second infestation was detected in July approximately five kilometres south of the earlier Canvastown find. This beekeeping enterprise also has apiary sites only within the Controlled Area.”
Movements of hives and beekeeping related equipment within the affected businesses will be subject to movement controls to minimise the risk of further spread of varroa. Movement controls on other beekeepers remain unchanged at this point.
Richard Norman said the results of surveillance were encouraging. “Beekeeper cooperation with movement controls were likely to be responsible for the lack of significant spread outside of known infested areas.”

“Beekeepers understand the importance of managing risks within their own operations to delay the spread of varroa and to reduce the impact of varroa in their hives and businesses.”

MAFBNZ is continuing to run free workshops in the South Island to help beekeepers recognise and manage varroa.

“Spring is a period when varroa infestations accelerate and beekeepers attending varroa workshops learn
and practice skills in varroa detection. We encourage beekeepers to be on the look out for varroa in their hives and report any suspicious finds to MAFBNZ’s free phone line 0800 80 99 66,” said Richard Norman.

Movement of hives or other risk materials and equipment within a beekeeping operation is the most likely way for varroa to spread over significant distances. MAF BNZ appreciates the cooperation of beekeepers with the movement control conditions in place as part of this response. Continued compliance will help slow the spread of varroa to the rest of the South Island.

Movement control conditions and the location of control points within the Controlled Area are currently being reviewed and beekeepers will be advised immediately of any changes.


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