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18 June 2006
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
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