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The Fortnight

Bee aware !

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Aug 31, 2000 | From the print edition

the New Zealand government has decided not to destroy the bee-killing parasite, the varroa mite.

According to the country's beekeepers, horticulturists and cropping farmers, the decision would prove to be a death sentence for the country's population of wild bees.

The agricultural ministry has informed the government that pest attack will lead to a loss of at least us $6.5 million in terms of farm income over the next 35 years. But according to the farmers, the cost will be much greater.

By pollinating everything from grasslands that feed the nation's cattle and sheep, to horticulture and vegetable crops, the bees contribute at least us $1.4 billion per year to the country's economy. Revenue is also generated by exporting bees worth million of dollars to countries such as Canada and the us.

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