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16 April 2000
The preliminary results from the Apistan diagnostic strips placed at hives in Tokoroa, Middlemarch and Opotiki apiaries have been negative for the varroa mite.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry sees this as a promising result that the varroa mite is not present at these apiaries. Bee samples taken from these apiaries also came back negative for varroa.
These results were taken after Apistan strips had been placed in the hives for 24 hours. A further 24 hours will provide more concrete results.
No hives positively diagnosed with varroa exist outside the initial Upper North Island controlled area.
The controlled area was extended to cover the entire North Island yesterday to stop the spread and movement of the varroa mite. The decision was made in consultation with the National Beekeepers Association. The controlled area will be in place for two weeks, with a review of the movement control provision on 28 April 2000, at which time the results of hive testing in the Tauranga and other district apiary zones will be known.
This testing will provide an indication of the status of the rest of the North Island as a result of hive movements from those zones to other North Island locations, following the completion of the last kiwifruit pollination season.
MAF-led field staff will begin to work further afield from the South Auckland hot spot today, and because of this, results are expected to be coming into MAF headquarters slower than previously. Many results are not expected to be collated by that day’s end.
Today, surveillance will extend from the west coast to Waihi, south of the Hauraki Plains. Field teams will also start surveillance in the Bay of Plenty area where several apiaries that are suspected to be infected with varroa have been used for pollination in the area. The area also had a high density of hives during November. Infected hives used for pollination would have subsequently been moved around the country. Apiaries in the Bay of Plenty region will receive Apistan diagnostic sampling priority.
To date (last night’s figures) 1847 hives on 196 apiaries had been inspected by field staff. Apistan diagnostic strips had been placed in 194 hives on 22 apiaries.
MAF’s Exotic Disease Hotline (0800-809-966) has received 258 calls so far, of which only six remain to be followed up.
The number of apiaries diagnosed as having varroa remains at 21. No hives have been destroyed.
Information on the Varroa mite can be accessed off the MAF website.
Matthew Stone, Programme Co-ordinator Exotic Disease Response, MAF Biosecurity Authority. Ph 025-332-509, N/A84
in McKenzie, National Beekeepers Association Executive Member. 025-357-970
Gita Parsot, Communications Adviser, MAF. N/A.