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25 April 2000
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry reports 10 new varroa-infected apiary sites were found yesterday as a result of continuing sampling within the infected area and boundary zones: 8 in the South Auckland area - including Cleveland and Whitford – and 2 in the north of the boundary zone around Helensville and Orewa.
MAF programme co-ordinator Dr Matthew Stone says that testing at the Omaru high-risk site he reported yesterday has returned negative results. As with the other South Island site that also returned a clear result, in Middlemarch Otago, restrictions will remain until repeat testing in approximately 1 month.
MAF intends to contact all 1300 South Island beekeepers in order to establish if there have been any other high-risk movements from the infected areas of the North Island. To date, the Middlemarch and Oamaru apiary sites have been identified by tracing movements from North Island beekeepers. Information from South Island beekeepers themselves regarding bees or hives moved from North Island sources in the last 3 years would ensure a complete tracing exercise is completed. Any information on such movements can be passed onto MAF via the exotic disease hotline 0800 809 966.
Surveillance in apiary sites in the rest of the North Island begins today. Dr Stone says four further co-ordinating centres have been established in Gisborne, Palmerston North, Napier, and New Plymouth to facilitate testing in those regions.
At a National Beekeepers Association meeting yesterday, MAF provided an update of response to date and plans for rest of the week. Both groups remain committed to reviewing Movement Controls on or about Friday 28 April. It now seems likely that a decision regarding control options may require further work for up to to a fortnight. MAF is preparing a paper discussing these issues for presentation to Cabinet next week.
Over 30 field teams will be operating for most of this week, more than any other day so far. Laboratory resources are being prepared to accept and read over 1500 sticky boards from Apistan tested hives in the latter part of the week.
To date, 749 apiary sites and 11,591 hives have been inspected, revealing 50 infected apiary sites owned by 27 beekeepers.
Information on the varroa mite is available on the MAFBNZ website>.
Matthew Stone, Programme Co-ordinator Exotic Disease Response, MAF Biosecurity Authority. Ph 025-332-509, N/A84.
Lin McKenzie, National Beekeepers Association Executive Member. 025-357-970.
John Hayes, Communications Adviser, MAF. 04-904-1827.