Nelson Varroa bee mite incursion

18 June 2006

Update 1

Testing of hives associated with apiaries found to contain varroa bee mite is underway, Biosecurity senior policy analyst Paul Bolger said today.

Biosecurity New Zealand launched an immediate response after a national surveillance programme for the varroa bee mite confirmed the presence of varroa at two sites near Stoke in the Nelson region.

"One of the first actions has been to test hives which are associated with the infected hives."

"Miticide strips are placed into each hive, and 'sticky board' is placed on the hive floor. The miticide strips kill varroa attached to the bees, and the varroa fall to the floor and are trapped by the sticky board. After 24 hours, the boards are removed, and sent to the laboratory for examination. While heavy varroa infestations can be observed in the field, boards have to be examined very carefully to ensure no mites are missed."

Results from the laboratory of the first batch of testing is expected within days, and MAF is rapidly building up laboratory capacity to handle thousands of boards per week.

A field operations response team has began arriving in Nelson and a response headquarters will be set up in the Nelson region in the next few days.

Varroa is an unwanted organism that kills bees. It was first detected in 2000 in Auckland. However, by the time it was detected it had spread too far for eradication to be feasible. Instead, the government put in place a programme to slow the spread in the North Island and try and keep the South Island free of the pest.

A controlled area declaration under section 131 (2) of the Biosecurity Act 1993 has been declared on the following Territorial Authorities:  Buller, Marlborough, Tasman Districts and the Nelson City.  Movement of all honey bees and related beekeeping materials and products and equipment will require a permit into, from and within the area. Honey packaged for retail sale does not require a permit.

Permits can be obtained by calling  0800 80 99 66.   

Media contact: Tina Nixon Senior Communications Adviser, Biosecurity New Zealand, 027 2232789



Last Updated: 23 September 2010

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