After recent international family visits over the holidays, I managed to get my brother (New York) and my father (Fiji) almost as obsessed with beekeeping as I am. I took them along to ABA events and had them help me with inspections over their month with me. So they were both keen to to start the process of obtaining Flow Hives!! Which was my goal all along of course.
My brother returned to Fiji en route to New York with my father and they immediately started contacting local apiaries there to source a hive and eventually a NUC.
Unfortunately, they were informed that the Varroa Jacobsoni had just been reported and the Biosecurity Authority had asked that all new Apiary setups hold off until further notice. It is suspected the Varroa arrived in a shipping container which must have contained beehive paraphernalia.
The reason i’m sharing is the amazing speed with which the infestation spread. The first reported identification was in a suburb of Suva, and actually only a few hundred metres from the family home on the 30th of October 2018. Note the picture in the middle of the red circle in Pic 1.
Have a look at the reported infestations that follow in each of the follow up report links on the site: https://www.oie.int/wahis_2/public/wahid.php/Reviewreport/Review?page_refer=MapFullEventReport&reportid=28559
The multiple reports in Follow up report 1 shows that the infestation spread within 2 weeks (sorry for the crude google maps copy) :
Within 4 weeks from infection date, it had covered half of the main island, with outbreak reports seeming to average 3 per report.
Then just shy of 8 weeks from identification and 9 outbreak reports on Christmas eve, the spread hadn’t moved any further but had obviously become more concentrated.
The last report from Bio-security Authority Inspectors appears to show the varroa jump across to the second largest island with multiple infestations around the main port city of Labasa, so they must have come in on one of the ships from the main island. There had been a small spread North West as well.
A few remarkable points really, the speed with which it spreads (although the infestation may have been unnoticed by the keepers as they wouldn’t have been looking for them) and also the fact that there are so many apiaries in Fiji.
Thankfully, due to the shutdown of new setups and restrictions on movement, perhaps they can limit it from outlying islands. Although, that would be very tough to police. The small avatar up on the North West corner of the map is our ancestral family island where my brother is before returning to the US, and the apiary attached to a resort near our village is unaffected and very busy… however, with daily shuttles and cargo vessels heading out from the main island… i wonder how long that will last