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Federated Farmers Bees backs ERMA decision

16 October 2008

Federated Farmers Bees backs ERMA decision

Federated Farmers Bee chairman, John Hartnell today acknowledged a decision by ERMA to decline an application from Bayer New Zealand Ltd to import the chemical, Checkmite+ to control varroa mite in beehives.

Mr Hartnell said the decision recognised the bee industry’s opposition to Checkmite+ as it contains coumaphos, an organophosphate, reported to produce persistent residues in honey, beeswax, and the hive environment.

“ERMA has not banned Checkmite+ outright. The authority has said a future reassessment may be warranted if circumstances changed. This is a cautionary and sensible approach that Federated Farmers Bees agrees with. The bee industry would welcome a review if varroa resistance to existing miticides develops in the future,” he said.

There are several other varroacides on the market. ERMA said its concerns about the immediate risks posed by Checkmite+ outweighed the comparatively small potential benefit, should varroa mite develop resistance to one or more of the alternatives currently available.

“It is extremely important that beekeepers use alternating treatments from different chemical families. If they don’t, the industry runs the risk of treatment resistance in the future. Any such outcome would be a direct reflection on current and future hive management practice,” Mr Hartnell said.


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