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11 August 2004
The South Island varroa investigation is over.
Final testing of sticky boards from the Canterbury region was completed on Tuesday with no further detections of the bee-killing mite.
Paul Bolger, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Varroa Programme Coordinator said that all controlled area and restricted place notices put in place during the investigation have been removed and beekeepers can now resume normal beekeeping activities.
Mr Bolger said that it was possible that the original varroa finds at Oxford and Murchison were the result of contamination in the testing process.
"The possibility also remains that there may be a low-level population of varroa somewhere in the South Island which has not been detected by the extensive sampling over the past two months.
"However to continue the investigation would severely restrict the activities of beekeepers and those industries that rely on bees for pollination," he said.
Mr Bolger asks that beekeepers remain vigilant to the possibility of varroa in their hives now that the active surveillance carried out during the investigation is completed.
MAF is extremely appreciative of the support received from beekeepers while the investigation has been underway.
The varroa investigation was initiated in June after a single varroa mite was found in samples taken from an Oxford apiary. The investigation was extended to include Murchison following the detection of a mite on the outside of a plastic bag containing sticky boards used in varroa surveillance from a Murchison property.
For more information contact:
MAF Varroa Programme Coordinator
Paul Bolger 0274 869539