14 Apr 2013

Beekeeper expects overseas disorder to come to NZ

6:03 pm on 14 April 2013

Beekeepers are being asked to watch out for any unusual bee activity or pest outbreaks in New Zealand, amid concerns over a disorder that is devastating bee populations in the northern hemisphere.

Plant and Food Research says the symptoms of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) are similar to those suffered during one of the current threats to New Zealand bee populations, the varroa mite.

Colony collapse disorder has been affecting population numbers in Europe and North America.

The Primary Industries Ministry says it's monitoring the situation through reports from beekeepers and the public.

Symptoms of the disorder include a hive that is virtually empty just weeks after it appeared healthy.

Wellington beekeeper Frank Lindsay says colony collapse disorder will eventually come to New Zealand, and it could arrive soon.

"CCD is a disappearing disease, sudden collapse, you've got a hive full of bees, this has got about 30,000 to 40,000 bees in here, and they'll be looking good and three weeks later there's no bees."

There are more than 400,000 hives throughout the country, and the pollination of crops and clover is worth about $5 billion to the economy each year.