New South Island Controlled Area for varroa bee mite

13 May 2008

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) has established a new South Island Controlled Area to protect beekeeping operations in the West Coast, Canterbury and areas further south, from varroa which was found at St Arnaud, outside the previous South Island Controlled Area, three weeks ago.

The new South Island Controlled Area comes into force at 4pm today, Tuesday 13 May, and covers the northern part of Westland; Grey, Buller; Tasman; Nelson; Marlborough; and part of north Canterbury.

“This is an interim measure and stakeholders will be consulted during May and June regarding the future of this Controlled Area,” said MAFBNZ Incursion Response Manager, Richard Norman.

“Letters have been sent to all registered South Island beekeepers advising them of the change. The Controlled Area Notice and map was published in the New Zealand Gazette on Thursday 8 May and was published in the public notice sections of the Nelson Mail, The Press, and the Otago Daily Times on Saturday 10 May 2008. Information is also available on the MAFBNZ website Beekeepers directly affected by the new South Island Controlled Area are being contacted individually.”

Richard Norman said MAFBNZ assessed several alternative movement control lines.

“The southern boundary of the new South Island Controlled Area was selected on the following grounds:

  • because varroa could have spread more widely than testing has demonstrated;
  • to minimise the number and scale of beekeeping operations that would be split by the boundary, reducing the risk of spread;
  • to minimse disruption to beekeeping businesses;
  • to allow surveillance to support the new boundary, working around accredited organic operations that don’t use the standard miticides for testing;
  • consideration of geography, roads and industry practice.”

Beekeepers in and close to the South Island Controlled Area are urged to regularly test their own hives for varroa mites on bees or in brood. Beekeepers detecting varroa in their hives should report the find to MAFBNZ via the 0800 80 99 66 free phone number. 



Judith Hamblyn | Senior Communications Adviser | Biosecurity New Zealand | Ph: 04 894 0687 or 029 894 0687

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