No new varroa infections, as the "Secret Weapon" gets boost

19 May 2000

No new varroa infections have been discovered in the last two days. The total number of Infected Places remains 266 on apiaries owned by 122 beekeepers, after visiting 2,039 apiaries housing 38,802 hives and following 1,927 traces. 18 teams were out in the field yesterday, and today a record 26 teams are working in the original Infected Zone and around Te Puke.

MAF has allocated funds for a substantial upgrade of Apiary Database. MAF programme co-ordinator Matthew Stone says that the database is the "secret weapon" in the varroa campaign.

"New Zealand is very fortunate, and probably unique, in having such a comprehensive database of registered beekeepers and associated information. It has been built up over many years through the efforts of MAF, and latterly AgriQuality New Zealand and the National Beekeepers' Association," said Dr Stone.

"It has already proved to be invaluable in the surveillance part of the varroa response. Now we want to add further capability in the areas of mapping and tracing. The database will gain extra functionality to aid with field operations and special project work, and if time permits there may be some work done on redesigning the 'front-end' interface of the database. The upgrade will mean that the database will be even more valuable when we move into implementing whatever control option is chosen"

The specifications for the upgrade have now been written and programming will begin next week. The upgrade is expected to be completed within a month.

Background:

The Apiaries Database originated in the early 1900s, when concern about American Foulbrood led to a requirement that all beekeepers and hives be registered. This was made compulsory in the Apiaries Act of 1927. A paper-based system was converted to a computer database in the '80s, which was substantially re-developed five years ago. The database records location, disease-status and other information, and is internationally regarded as the premier apiary database in the world.

Contacts:

John Hayes, Communications Adviser, MAF. 04-4744-268/04-904-1827.
Lin McKenzie, National Beekeepers Association Executive Member. 025-357-970

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