29 Jun 2009

Bee industry goes it alone on tackling varroa mite

5:53 am on 29 June 2009

The Government-funded programme to manage the honey bee parrasite varroa mite winds up on Monday after nine years.

Biosecurity New Zealand launched the programme to help beekeepers control the deadly pest, which was discovered in South Auckland in 2000.

It funded testing of hives and surveillance during the initial efforts to contain the mite in the North Island and then keep it from spreading out of Nelson and Marlborough after it invaded the South Island in 2006.

Efforts to slow its spread further south were finally abandoned when varroa mite was discovered in North Canterbury late last year.

It has now spread as far south as Prebbleton in Canterbury and the Greymouth area on the West Coast.

MAF Biosecurity's response manager David Hays says efforts in the past few months have focused on educating southern beekeepers on managing the parasite.