Frequently Asked Questions

Could didymo spread to lakes throughout New Zealand?

Yes. Although didymo prefers a river environment with clear water flowing over stable substrate at depths sufficient for light penetration to drive photosynthesis, blooms have been found in South Island Lakes. Lake Wakatipu, for example, contains visible didymo on some parts of the lake shore.

How does varroa travel?

Varroa depends on adult bees for transport. The mite spreads naturally between bee colonies by travelling with drifting bees and swarms.

Modern beekeeping practices often involve shifting bees, beehives, and equipment between apiary sites, often over long distances. This has the potential to spread varroa more quickly over long distances.

Where will I find Argentine ant nests?

Argentine ants nest mainly in soil, retaining walls, and rock-gardens, under paths or cobblestones or at the base of plants in the warmer months. Wheelie bins and re-cycling containers, planter pots, cars and trucks also provide great nesting sites.

Some of the largest colonies have been found under the fake grass of tennis courts and around swimming pools.

Argentine ants are most active in dry, warm weather, but the onset of wet weather and cooler temperatures drives them into buildings. 

Over-wintering nests can contain hundreds of thousands of ants, and can usually be found inside the north or east facing warmer walls and in ceiling cavities.

The small satellite colonies established during the summer months can come together into huge colonies during the winter months, only to expand again into dispersed nests when the conditions become favourable.

How has the annual transitional and containment facility fee been calculated?

The analysis of MAF’s border clearance activities has shown that some fixed activities apply only to this area of operations and not to all importers. We could not fairly include these activities in the new single biosecurity (system entry) levy. The remaining activities were variable, but the approval processing work was not variable. The simplest way to recover this fixed activity cost was through a specific fee. This left the variable activities (such as auditing) to be collected via the hourly rate charge.

Can avian influenza spread between humans?

There is no evidence of H5N1 being readily transmitted from one person to another but recent information suggests this may have happened in a small number of cases where family members live in close proximity and/or have tended those that were ill.

Adaptation to, and evidence of, sustained spread between humans would indicate the emergence of a potential human influenza pandemic. To date, this has not happened.

Where does Asian tiger mosquito breed?

The Asian Tiger Mosquito prefers rural and vegetated habitats. However it can also successfully breed in urban environments. It breeds in natural and artificial containers, and in fresh to polluted and even brackish water.

Is following the examples in the guidance document mandatory?

The examples in the guidance document have been provided as a set of acceptable solutions to meeting the Standard. If you do not want to follow the solutions as provided, you may develop your own procedures tailored to your facility. However these must be deemed acceptable by an Inspector before they are put into use at a facility.

How does painted apple moth threaten our forests?

The painted apple moth is quickly adapting to New Zealand and has been found on several common native species already. The pest is a voracious eater, defoliating, and eventually destroying, trees it feeds on. If uncontrolled, the pest could spread throughout our native and exotic forests causing widespread destruction.

What has been the overseas experience with didymo?

When didymo was first detected in New Zealand, there was very little information on didymo internationally - its biology, ecology, impacts, surveillance or control techniques. The available information upon which to base incursion response decisions was primarily anecdotal due to the absence of validated scientific studies. The recent work in New Zealand led by the Ministry for Primary Industries has made us the world authority on this organism.

How will I know if MPI have all of the information required to make a complete Risk Assessment of my imported goods?

Should further information be required to enable the Risk Screener to issue a BACC, an electronic response will come back to you seeking further information to enable the process to continue.