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Varroa Update 17

14 December 2006

Varroa Update 17

Biosecurity New Zealand surveillance of apiaries around varroa mite infested areas in Nelson has detected three apiaries infected with low levels of the mite.

“Varroa was found in three hives in two apiaries in the Sherry River Valley, close to the Tapawera infested area. Other hives in the same apiaries showed no sign of varroa infestation. Another apiary at Brightwater, near Richmond was also found to be infected yesterday,” Biosecurity New Zealand senior policy analyst Paul Bolger said today.

“The owners of these newly identified apiaries have been contacted and all their hives will be tested immediately to establish if there are other infested hives. Infested apiaries will be placed under treatment to reduce the risk of spread. Any feral hives and swarms reported in or near the affected apiaries will be destroyed and samples tested for varroa.”

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.

“The restrictions on the affected businesses will be in place until such time as a clear picture is established of the amount of infestation and the risk of further spread,” said Mr Bolger.

“Tracing back of hive movements in these apiaries will identify further apiaries needing to be tested. Until that work is completed, the impact on the current Nelson varroa response can not be determined.”

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Mr Bolger said the positive finds highlights the importance of the surveillance programme to determine whether there has been any spread of varroa in recent months.

Biosecurity New Zealand has been carrying out surveillance in the Nelson region in partnership with the South Island Varroa Control Group and local beekeepers after varroa was found in apiaries in Nelson, Tapawera and Pelorus earlier this year.

The campaign to eliminate wild bee colonies and swarms from the infested areas has had very good public support, with 246 feral colonies and 90 swarms of bees destroyed to date.
Mr Bolger says the use of chemicals for poisoning wild bees means that honey from wild hives in this region must not be consumed nor wax collected from the hives.
The public are requested to report any wild bee colonies or swarms in the Nelson, Stoke and Richmond areas to 0800 80 99 66.

ENDS

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