Surveillance for varroa mite continues

17 April 2000

Inspection of hives for possible signs of the varroa mite infection in the Bay of Plenty is in full swing today with teams working in Katikati and Te Matai apiary districts.

Field teams will also be surveying the southern boundary of the original controlled area by taking in North Waikato, as well as Waiuku, Pukekawa, Whiri, Huntly, Ngaruawhahia and Orini. Thames, east of the Hauraki Plains will be inspected, as well as Whitikahu in the north of Hamilton and Te Akau in West Waikato. Northern boundary surveillance will take in West Harbour. Hotspot surveillance will continue in the Hauraki Plains, around Kaihere.

The trace team has followed up 548 traces from infected properties to date. Traces are when bees or hives from one infected property are traced to another property. The follow up of traces continues today in Waiotapu and Netherton.

A high-risk trace led the field team to a Whangarei beekeeper who purchased hives nine months ago from the Auckland hotspot area. Apistan diagnostic strips were placed in the hives.

Diagnostic strips were also sent to Great Barrier Island after hives and queen bees from the infested area were sent to apiaries there more than two years ago. Apistan diagnostic strips are being placed in the hives, with the results expected later this week. The length of time elapsed since the movement means that this is a medium risk trace.

To date, the number of hives inspected is 3145 on 277 apiaries. Apistan diagnostic strips have been placed in 992 hives on 54 apiaries.

The number of apiaries with hives diagnosed as having the varroa mite stands at 22. The number of beekeepers with infected properties is 17. Some beekeepers own more than one of the infected apiaries.

The MAF Exotic Disease hotline (0800-809-966) has received 303 freephone inquiries. Of these, eight are still pending further enquiries.

Three beekeepers are being investigated by MAF and the Police for movement control violations within the controlled area. Failure to comply with the movement control conditions is an offence under the Biosecurity Act 1993. The penalty for non-compliance is up to five years imprisonment or a fine of up to $100,000 for individuals.

Information on the varroa mite is available on the MAFBNZ website.


Matthew Stone, Programme Co-ordinator Exotic Disease Response, MAF Biosecurity Authority. Ph 025-332-509, N/A84.
Lin McKenzie, National Beekeepers Association Executive Member. 025-357-970.
Gita Parsot, Communications Adviser, MAF. N/A.

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