Varroa confirmed in Bay of Plenty

8 May 2000

A site near Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty has been confirmed in the laboratory to have low level varroa infestation. MAF programme co-ordinator Matthew Stone says that a priority is being placed on following up the implications of the new find, including:

  • testing apiary sites in the vicinity of the infected dump site;
  • tracing all orchards serviced by bees now in the site,
  • identifying beekeepers; surrounding those orchards; and
  • inspecting the hives of those beekeepers.

"This find in Te Puke, the first confirmed positive outside the Infected Zone as designated on 28 April, has potentially serious implications. We identified the strategic importance of determining the health status of the Bay of Plenty region very early on in our survey programme. The dumpsite was not identified for testing when we surveyed the region because it is not registered. It was identified and tested as a result of the thorough tracing exercise being undertaken. Although the site has a low level infestation, it will be several days before we know the full implications of the find." said Dr Stone.

A total of five new Infected Places have been confirmed today. Three were in the known infected area and not surprising, but one was in Tapu, to the north of Thames, in the same area of the Coromandel Peninsula as the site detected there last week.

The cumulative total of Infected Places is now 167, on apiaries owned by 53 beekeepers. 30, 111 hives have now been visited on 1,581 apiaries.

A Hobbyist Beekeeper Seminar has been has been organised for this weekend, the 13th and 14th of May. It will be held at the Allenby Park Motor Inn, Papatoetoe. On Saturday some technical seminars will be held to instruct small-scale beekeepers on how to test their hives, and they will be issued with inspection kits. On Sunday the beekeepers will return with their samples to be tested. Dr Stone said this initiative is designed to get the best possible understanding of varroa's spread within the time and resource constraints available.

The movement permit free-phone operation (0800 109 383) received seven new requests for permits, with 20 being issued (after clearing the backlog) and none declined.

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.

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