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    Default Sounds nasty

    Movement restrictions for Nelson bee mite
    19 June 2006

    Biosecurity New Zealand has put in place movement controls around the top of the South Island after beehives containing the varroa mite were found in Nelson last week. A national incursion response was launched on Friday after the mite was discovered during routine surveillance in two sites about 3km apart near Stoke.

    Biosecurity NZ senior policy analyst Paul Bolger said today that the movement of bees, beehives and beekeeping equipment would be restricted into and out of four regions: Buller, Tasman, Marlborough and Nelson city. Honey packs for retail sale could move freely, he added.

    The varroa mite attacks the pupae of the honeybee and has ripped through the North Island since being found at South Auckland in April 2000.

    Industry sources have said the South Island's economy faces losing more than $300 million over the next three decades ? up to $10m annually over three decades ? with a major impact on crops that bees pollinate.

    Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) planners have estimated that if left uncontrolled, varroa could cost the South Island between $198 million and $434 million over 32 years. Mr Bolger said Biosecurity NZ had established a field headquarters in Nelson as base for surveillance teams to go out and test hives.

    Five or six teams would retest the infected sites, and other sites closely related to them, he said. "It's a multi-pronged approach, tracing the movement of bees into and out of the infected sites," Mr Bolger said.

    Widespread testing would be carried out in the Nelson region for the next two or three weeks, depending on the extent of the spread. The infected sites were 2-3km apart, and were owned by different beekeepers, which could indicate some degree of local spread, he added.

    Earlier, Mr Bolger said by the time the varroa pest had been detected in the country it had spread too far for eradication to be feasible. Instead, the Government put in place a programme to slow the spread in the North Island and try and keep the South Island free of the pest.

    NZPA
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    selchie's Avatar
    selchie is offline All Knowing Deity
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    Default Sounds nasty

    I was hoping the South Island would be spared. I know the Interislander ferry had all kinds of posters about not transporting bees between the islands. The mite has wreaked havoc in California agriculture, though it seems to be getting under control, and the bee populations are recovering. Unfortunately, the mite problem led to a black market in stolen hives, and the bee keepers were losing their livelihoods on two fronts.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
    - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, mid-1800s

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