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28 April 2000
15 new varroa-infected places have been identified - all within the established "hot spots" - but the number of beekeepers owning infected properties has risen only slightly to 29. MAF programme co-ordinator Dr Mathew Stone reports that the total of infected places stands at 85, and all inside the control zone established over two weeks ago.
So far no evidence of varroa infection has been detected below the southern boundary of the infected area. Laboratory staff worked through the night inspecting test boards, many the Southern North Island collected by teams working from satellite centres in New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Napier, and Gisborne/Wairoa. MAF programme co-ordinator Dr Mathew Stone says the teams in the field and the laboratories have made a magnificent contribution to our understanding of varroa in New Zealand.
Movement control provisions for the North Island are now being reviewed. Dr Stone advised beekeepers to check the websites of both the National Beekeepers Association (http://www.nba.org.nz) and MAFBNZ (http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests/varroa) over the next day or so to see if the movement control provisions have been modified.
"We will post the new control provisions to the websites as soon as feasible. Notifying beekeepers through other means will take a little longer - a letter will be posted to all beekeepers this weekend, and we will have public notices in major North Island newspapers as soon as we can - hopefully by Tuesday." Dr Stone added that a 0800 number was also being set up.
A large number of "no-replies" has delayed the completion of a survey of all 1300 South Island registered beekeepers to identify high-risk movements from the infected areas of the North Island. A further attempt to complete the survey will be made over the weekend.
Information on the varroa mite is available on the MAFBNZ website.
John Hayes, Communications Adviser, MAF. 04-4744-268/04-904-1827.
Lin McKenzie, National Beekeepers Association Executive Member. 025-357-970.