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11 July 2002
Passengers and vehicles boarding the 2pm Interislander ferry for Picton today
were put on full "bee alert", as the Ministry of Agriculture and
Forestry (MAF) stepped up efforts to combat the risk of infested bees being
transported accidentally to the South Island.
MAF's Varroa Programme coordinator Paul Bolger said Protect New Zealand Week
was a perfect time to raise the profile of ongoing work to reduce the risk of
varroa being spread to the South Island.
MAF unveiled a new set of signs at ferry terminals for the Interislander and
the Lynx, and a 'bee team' will handed out sets of stickers and leaflets
carrying the simple message of "No bees to the South Island". New
signage was also put in place at CentrePort facilities, MAF Quarantine Service,
Pacifica Shipping and Strait Shipping. Signage is also being put up at Picton
advising people to report any bees that may have been transported from the North
"MAF has been working with the National Beekeepers Association to slow
the spread of varroa since the mite was first discovered in Auckland in 2000.
The Cook Strait presents a helpful natural barrier to spread, and so we want to
take as much advantage of that as possible."
"MAF is carrying out surveillance for varroa in the South Island. A
comprehensive survey carried out last year showed that the South Island was free
of varroa and MAF wants to keep it that way as long as possible."
"Our advice to people who travel from the North Island to the South
Island, for business or pleasure, is to check their cars, trucks or boats don't
A limited range of beekeeping equipment can be taken to the South Island if a
MAF permit is obtained.
The National Beekeepers Association's Annual Conference is being held next
week, from 15 to 18 July, in Auckland. See www.nba.org.nz
For more information contact:
Stephen Olsen, Communications Adviser, MAF
Biosecurity Authority (04) 470 2753 or (025) 977 028; email email@example.com