Varroa investigation continues

Tuesday 22 June 2004

The varroa investigations currently underway in Oxford and Murchison will continue, despite no further mites being found since the investigation was instigated earlier this month.

Paul Bolger, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Varroa Programme Coordinator, said that MAF could not exclude the possibility that varroa was present in the Oxford and Murchison areas.

"Although we cannot discount the possibility of cross contamination of samples from Murchison, ignoring the possibility that there is a genuine infestation in the South Island is a risk we are not prepared to take.

"Further testing of hives in Oxford and Murchison is required. This will involve going outside the 10 kilometre zone established around the site in Oxford and a new controlled area around Murchison and Westport has been imposed. The controlled area around Oxford will remain in place.

"MAF will destroy 40 hives from each of the two properties and examine the bees for the mites. This is a different approach taken so far which has involved testing live hives.

"A more intensive approach has been adopted because so far surveillance has not found any varroa mites. Generally, sticky boards and miticides strips are very effective in detecting varroa infestation.

"However, destructive sampling is the most reliable method of detecting very low levels of varroa infestation. This is an unusual situation and for absolute assurance we need to take a more invasive approach," he said.

The remaining hives on each suspect site will be placed under continuous miticide treatment and hives fitted with debris collectors for 3-4 weeks – movement controls around both Oxford and Murchison will remain in place for this period.

For further information contact: MAF Senior Communications Adviser Philippa White 027 223 1875

MAF Varroa Programme Coordinator Paul Bolger 025 869 539



Last Updated: 29 September 2010

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