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Controls to slow spread of varroa bee mite

Changes to movement controls to slow spread of varroa bee mite

Changes to movement controls designed to slow the spread of the varroa bee mite are being actioned this week, said MAF’s Varroa Programme Coordinator Paul Bolger.

The changes are contained in a Controlled Area Notice which took effect from today 14 November and notices were sent to all beekeepers in the North Island earlier this week.

“MAF has now completed testing 450 apiaries in the lower North Island and the level of infestation remains very low at just 25 infested sites,” said Paul Bolger.

“Our monitoring shows a completely different picture for the upper North Island where the spread of varroa was both rapid and extensive. In that sense the current control measures have successfully stemmed the spread of varroa for a longer period than we expected two years ago.”

As of 14 November the control line will be slightly modified at the East Cape, Taranaki and Central Plateau, and the 10km boundary areas to the north of the control line will be removed.

“We continue to have a high commitment to measures that will keep the South Island free of varroa,” said Paul Bolger. A programme of surveillance testing of more than 20,000 South Island hives for varroa has so far confirmed the South Island remains varroa free.

“We are continuing to maintain restrictions on movement of bees and other high risk items from the North Island to the South Island. As part of those restrictions we have just added beekeeper’s trucks to the list of risk goods that now require a permit to be moved to the South Island,” said Paul Bolger.

MAF and affected industries are discussing long-term management for varroa and expect to release a discussion document in December. This will present a range of options for continuing varroa movement control measures after the existing control programme ends.

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