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23 June 2006
Following continued testing for the varroa bee mite in the Nelson area,
another two apiaries are suspected to be infected. This brings the total number
of apiaries suspected or confirmed as infected with varroa to 20, 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 2006.
Eighteen suspected apiaries have been confirmed by the testing laboratories
and the latest two finds are expected to be confirmed by the laboratories in
the next two days.
One of the new finds is outside the 10km radius placed around the site of
the original infected apiaries. To date, survey efforts have been concentrated
within the 10km radius zone. But one of the latest finds is in an apiary
belonging to one of the biggest beekeepers in the area who has hives throughout
the Nelson region.
Biosecurity New Zealand's survey teams expect to find more apiaries
infected with the mite.
While the latest finds have decreased the feasibility of an eradication
attempt, no decisions will be made on future management options until surveying
Surveying will now concentrate on apiaries outside the 10km radius zone that
are associated with infected apiaries inside the zone.
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 its spread in the North Island and to try and keep the South Island free
of this 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. 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.