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20 February 2002
Samples taken from approximately 80 managed hives within a 5 kilometre radius of a find
of varroa at Pauatahanui made earlier this month have all tested negative for the invasive
"These test results are an encouraging sign that MAF and the National Beekeepers
Association have been able to contain the spread of varroa in the Wellington region,"
says Paul Bolger, MAF's Varroa Programme Coordinator.
"From what we know about the terrain and prevailing weather conditions around
Pauatahanui at the time of this exposure to varroa it appears that this was an isolated
incident. However the Varroa Management Group has acknowledged that varroa will eventually
spread throughout the North Island," he says.
"While these tests are helpful, MAF had also scheduled widespread surveillance of
the lower North Island which will commence by April. When the result of this sampling is
known we will be able to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the movement control programme
"The current movement control line is targeted at slowing the spread of varroa
through restricting movement of managed beehives and known associated material. Feral bees
cannot be targeted in the same way.
"The message to take from this is that the transport industry and the travelling
public in general, need to display extra caution to ensure their loads are free of all
bees and bee material".
For further information contact
Paul Bolger or Stephen Olsen Varroa Programme Coordinator Communications
Adviser DDI: (04) 474 4144 DDI: (04) 470 2753 Mob: (025) 869 539 Mob: (025) 977 028