11 new varroa sites within Infected Zone

1 May 2000

11 new varroa-infected places have been identified - all within the established Infected Zone - but the number of beekeepers owning infected properties remains at 29. MAF programme co-ordinator Dr Mathew Stone reports that the total of infected places is now 96, and that number is likely to rise.

"The programme now will largely focus on the Infected Zone established on Friday evening. It will be important to shrink the boundaries of varroa infection so we know what we have to deal with when control options are considered. This means a concentration on in-fill surveys of the infected area, which is likely to add to the Infected Places total," said Dr Stone.

0800 109 383 - the telephone service to facilitate requesting permits under the revised control regulations released in Friday evening - is now in operation, with 29 inquiries received. Dr Stone says that this is not intended to be a bureaucratic block to beekeepers carrying out their business, but a sensible approach to a difficult problem developed in full consultation with the industry.

A consignment of bees prepared for export to Canada prior to the outbreak of varroa on 11 April, and held in containment since that time, has been humanely destroyed by the exporter by sealing the premises and gassing the bees with methyl bromide. MAF is supervising the destruction and decontamination procedures. The decision to destroy the consignment was taken by the exporter in order to allow decontamination of the premises where the consignment was held in containment, prior to preparation of further export consignments scheduled in the near future.

The first export shipment of live bees from New Zealand to Canada arrived yesterday in Toronto, and was accepted by Canadian authorities. Several other shipments are in transit.

39 movements from the North to the South Island have been picked up in the telephone survey of South Island beekeepers, but many of those are queen bees from Kaitaia and Foxton. While all the leads from the survey will be followed up, none appear to be cause for great concern at this stage.

22,142 hives on 1,233 apiaries have been inspected.

Information on the varroa mite is available on the MAF website.

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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