18 July 2000
Kiwi fury at inaction on varroa

NEW Zealand farmers and horticulturists are up in arms at their governments decision not to eradicate a bee-killing parasite, the varroa mite.

Bees contribute an estimated NZ$3 billion (923m) a year to the New Zealand economy, pollinating grasslands and crops, reports the Financial Times.

The ministry of agriculture has told the government that the mite could cost agriculture NZ$1.5bn over the next 35 years by reducing bee numbers.

Farmers claim losses will be much higher.

The government says it decided against eradication, not because of the NZ$55m cost, but because there success is unlikely as the mite has spread to the wild.