28 Dec 2012

Varroa in Dunedin and Invercargill reaches 'acute phase'

8:59 pm on 28 December 2012

An outbreak of a deadly bee parasite in coastal areas of Otago and Southland appears to have reached its most intense stage.

The varroa mite, which kills unprotected bee colonies, was found in hives in Dunedin and Invercargill last April.

The parasite has spread through the country since first being detected in the North Island 10 years ago.

The Otago president of the National Beekeepers' Assocation, Frans Laas, says local hives appear to have reached the so-called acute phase, with evidence of all the region's wild bee colonies dying.

He says it should not hugely affect home garden produce that relies on bees for pollination, because enough hobby beekeepers in the cities are protecting their hives against varroa.