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22 June 2006
Testing of hives associated with apiaries infected with varroa bee mite is
continuing and another nine apiaries are suspected to be infected with the
Varroa bee mite, 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 on Friday 16 June. A further eight
infected sites were confirmed earlier this week.
The new finds are still in and around Nelson city. Current testing is
concentrated on all hives in a 10km radius of the original infected
"It was expected that more mites would be found following the initial
discovery and that has proved to be the case. We expect to locate more infected
apiaries over the next week.
The degree of spread will largely determine what management options can be
"No decision on the feasibility of eradication or other management
options can be made
until the degree of spread is known. Bad weather is forecast over the next
few days and this may impact on the time it will take to complete the
survey." Mr Bolger said.
Varroa is an unwanted organism that kills bees. It was first detected in
2000 in Auckland. 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
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
Permits can be obtained by calling 0800 80 99 66.
Media contact: Tina Nixon, Senior Communications Adviser,
Biosecurity New Zealand, 027 223 2789.
To report a suspected exotic pest or disease, call the Emergency
Hotline on 0800 80 99 66.