MAF takes Protect New Zealand Week to the Cook Strait in efforts to keep varroa out of South Island

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 Island.

"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 contain bees."

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

For more information contact:
Stephen Olsen, Communications Adviser, MAF Biosecurity Authority (04) 470 2753 or (025) 977 028; email



Last Updated: 08 October 2010

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