Biosecurity New Zealand has revoked all movement controls on beehives after the varroa bee mite was found in North Canterbury.
It will now focus on funding research and help bee keepers live with the mite.
Federated Farmers bee industry chairman John Hartnell said he doubted the mite could ever be killed off.
“We can manage the beehive but what we can’t manage is the feral population,” he said.
Hartnell said he hoped that by next autumn an organic treatment option would be available.
“The timing might be OK because most beekeepers, apart from those with high infestations, won’t be required to treat their hives until autumn, when the numbers (of mite) start to build up,” he said.
Chemical treatment costs between $40 and $50 a hive, which could cripple some beekeeping operations.
It is much easier to stop incursions at the border than to eradicate them once they’re established and the spread of varroa reinforces the importance of vigilence in airport and port inspections of inbound luggage and freight.