§ Mr. Paice
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what scientific studies he has(a) commissioned and (b) evaluated regarding the import of bees from New Zealand; what assessment he has made of the probability of such an importation carrying Kashmir Bee virus into the United Kingdom; and what advice he has received concerning the role of varroa mites as vectors for KBV. 
§ Ms Quin
The Central Science Laboratory's National Bee Unit was requested to undertake a formal qualitative risk analysis on the importation of package bees from New Zealand. This was completed in March 1999. The importation of queen bees from that country which has high bee health standards, has been allowed under licence since 1980 without problem. Germany also allows imports of bee packages from New Zealand. However, the risk of importing Kashmir Bee virus (KBV) cannot be ruled out and the virus may already be present in UK bees. It has not yet been proven that KBV is vectored by varroa. There is certainly no indication from those major honey-producing countries where both varroa and KBV are endemic that the virus is causing concern, or measurable damage, to industry.