Strategy to keep South Island varroa free
The final phase of the varroa management programme has culminated in a proposal for keeping the South Island free of this destructive bee pest.
Members of the public are invited to make submissions on the Varroa National Pest Management Strategy proposal, which incorporates movement controls on risk items such as bee keeping equipment, public education measures and an extensive surveillance programme.
Fiona Hutchinson, Policy Analyst with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), said that the proposed strategy measures were developed to prevent the bee mite from spreading to the South Island and to help ensure its early detection. The Government would fund an incursion response programme should varroa ever arrive in the South Island.
The Varroa Planning Group, made up of representatives from the bee keeping, agriculture and horticulture sectors, has over the last three years developed a long-term management programme for varroa.
“It has been a difficult process with some dissension, but MAF believes that the potential benefits of the proposed strategy for the South Island are significant,” she said
The proposed strategy will be funded by South Island regional councils and unitary authorities and a hive levy paid by South Island beekeepers.
The closing date for submissions is Friday 30 January 2004 and should be sent to the Minister of Agriculture, c/- Tricia Caughley, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, PO Box 2526, Wellington.