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Major changes to varroa movement controls

Friday 18 September 2003

Major changes to varroa movement controls

The varroa movement control line separating the upper and lower North Island will be removed on 24 September 2003. Hives can then be moved between the upper North Island and East Cape, Taranaki, Manawatu, Horowhenua and Wellington.

Paul Bolger, Varroa Programme Coordinator with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said that surveillance undertaken in autumn 2003 confirmed that the varroa bee mite had spread into these areas. The movement control line was no longer serving any useful purpose.

However, conditional movement controls will be put in place around Hawke’s Bay and the Wairarapa to slow the impact of the varroa mite in these areas.

Mr Bolger says beekeepers will require a permit to be able to move their hives over this new line. Permits will only be issued to hives which have undergone miticide treatment.

“Based on autumn surveillance findings, MAF has confirmed low level varroa infestation in Hawke's Bay. It is probable that the mite has also spread into the Wairarapa region, because of the volume of risk materials moved into the Wairarapa over the past summer.

“MAF believes the advantages of imposing more restrictive movement controls do not outweigh the disadvantages. This has been a very difficult decision made after extensive discussions with the beekeeping industry.

“Generally the decision has support from the bee keeping industry but it does not have the full consensus of other movement control decisions. MAF believes this outcome is the most appropriate given that more restrictive movement controls will not stop the inevitable spread of varroa throughout the North Island,” he said.

The restrictions preventing the movement of bees and other risk items to the South Island will remain in place, and will be extended to incorporate Great Barrier Island.

More information will be available on www.maf.govt.nz/varroa

ENDS

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