31 Aug 2008

Bee parasite controls to remain until next winter

8:36 pm on 31 August 2008

Movement controls to restrict the spread of the bee parasite varroa look set to remain in place until July 2009.

Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton says the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will bring forward $5000 in funding from the next financial year to continue to the movement controls until July.

He says MAF will determine whether the industry is prepared to meet the cost of maintaining the controls beyond then.

The parasitic mite is widespread in the North Island, but has not been found beyond Marlborough, Nelson and Buller in the South Island.

Mr Anderton says delaying the spread of the mite will give the industry more time to prepare.

But beekeepers are warning varroa will spread across the entire South Island if the Government stops funding movement controls after July 2009.

Federated Farmers' bees chairman, John Hartnell, is pleased with the extra funding but says he is worried the industry will be left to fund controls alone from next July.

Mr Hartnell says without Government help, it will only be a matter of time before the South Island is overrun with varroa.