Real Cost Of Living With Varroa Mounts
19 November 2001
Green Party Biosecurity spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today the real cost of living with varroa was starting to
show, as gardeners suffer from a dearth of wild bees in Auckland.
In just over one year, the mite is believed to have killed all the wild bee colonies in Auckland. In up to six years, it
could wipe out all the wild bees in the North Island.
Mr Ewen-Street said the extinction of wild bees, combined with fewer hobby beekeepers, would leave gardeners with
unpollinated fruit trees and vegetables such as squashes, courgettes, capsicums and aubergines.
"Gardeners who happen to live near chemically treated apiaries will be OK, other gardeners will have to rely on hit and
miss pollination by flies, wasps and bumblebees, or buy in temporary help from one of the commercial bee-keepers.
"It's pretty disappointing when you go to all that work looking after a garden, and then plants end up being barren
because all the bees have died."
Mr Ewen-Street said hobby beekeepers and organic beekeepers, as well as orchardists and farmers relying on pasture, were
all paying the price for the decision to live with varroa.
"Yes, eradication would have been costly. But the Government's decision not to attempt to eradicate has condemned people
all over the country to pay a heavy price every year.
"Biosecurity is one of those unsexy ways to spend money, because you don't get anything concrete for your dollar. But
when biosecurity fails, as with varroa, it costs the country many times over - in emotional losses as well as dollar