The $3 billion pollination industry is under renewed threat from the varroa mite which destroys bee colonies, with reports of resistance to treatment.
The National Beekeepers Association says bees tested from a hive near Auckland have shown resistance to synthethic pyrethroid treatments.
Varroa has been in New Zealand for nine years.
Chief executive Daniel Paul says it's a wakeup call to the beekeeping, agricultural and horticulture industries, although it had been feared resistance would develop.
He says beekeepers should continue alternating their treatments for the varroa mite, because it's likely resistance will spread to hives in other areas.
Mr Paul says there's concern that resistance to treatment could lead to what's known as colony collapse disorder.
The disorder has been blamed for the mass disappearance of bee colonies in the United States.