Hundreds of beekeepers are gathering this month to learn how they might be able to deal with a major issue facing beekeepers and New Zealand's wider agri-export sector.
The National Beekeepers' Association (NBA) is holding workshops in July to brief beekeepers on the results of the Varroa-Sensitive Hygiene Project, a major research project designed to develop varroa-resistant bees.
NBA President, Barry Foster, says the varroa mite is a serious threat to the beekeeping industry. It first entered New Zealand in April, 2000.
"The varroa mite is the most damaging honey bee pest worldwide," he says.
"The industry in New Zealand has managed it well for the last decade, but we always knew the mite would eventually become resistant to the chemicals with which we've treated it successfully until now.
"This looming resistance issue poses threats to beekeepers and to the multi-billion dollar agricultural sectors that rely on bees for pollination."
Mr Foster says the VSH Project offers the latest in varroa control, and could be pivotal in helping to manage New Zealand's struggle with the varroa mite.
"The five-year VSH Project was designed to breed a self-sustaining population of bees that is able to deal with the varroa mite naturally, with some assistance from beekeepers."
Mr Foster says almost 500 beekeepers have registered to attend the workshops, with more on waiting lists.
"The workshops have received an unprecedented amount of interest. Beekeepers will be travelling from all over the country to attend these workshops, the first of which took place in Christchurch on July 12."
Mr Foster says there are a range of prominent speakers presenting at the workshops, which are being held in the North and South Islands.
"Speakers from Plant and Food Research, who have undertaken the VSH research, are briefing beekeepers on the outcome of the project.
"There are also be speakers from Betta Bees, which is spearheading bee breeding work to further develop the varroa-resistant strains, and Rainbow Honey, which is endeavouring to commercialise for New Zealand beekeepers the important VSH populations produced as a result of the NBA's VSH Project."
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Federated Farmers' Bee Industry Group (BIG) are also being represented at the workshops.
The first workshop was a great success, held on July 12 at the Hornby Working Men's Club in Christchurch. The second workshop will be at the Claudelands Events Centre in Hamilton on July 26.
Popular competitions and giveaways from Gimme.co.nz: NZ's People Powered Guide to Free Stuff. Links will open on Gimme.
Join Voxy on Google+.
Compare Credit Cards - Interest rate and fees comparisons for New Zealand banks.