The National Varroa Mite Strategy

For several seasons, the challenges around effectively controlling varroa and the related hive losses have been a concern for beekeepers. The 2022 NZ Colony Loss Survey conducted by Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research clearly demonstrates this with suspected varroa-related colony losses increasing year on year (see Fig.1).

These varroa challenges are likely a result of many factors including significant re-invasion pressure, incorrect treatment by beekeepers, insufficient monitoring and the potential of treatments becoming less effective.

In response to these challenges, the ApiNZ Science and Research Focus Group has developed a national varroa strategy called Mite Smart to begin to identify and develop solutions for beekeepers.

Through a national strategy, industry can coordinate shared resources to improve long-term varroa management, resulting in lower colony losses, lower costs, and higher honey yields.

Our goal is to reduce overwinter varroa-related colony losses to 2%[1] or less by 2028.

[1] Historical hive losses range from 1.6% (2017) to 5.3% (2022) according to the NZ Colony Loss Survey.

Figure 1: Colony loss causes. 2022 NZ Colony loss Survey, Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research.

Find out more about the NZ Colony Loss Survey here