Our program was officially established in 2011. We are here to provide services to the bees and the beekeeping industries in Hawai`i. Honey bees are not native to Hawai`i, but they have been here for over 150 years, providing a variety of excellent honey and, most importantly, pollination for many plants. Local agriculture depends heavily on honey bee pollination. Beekeeping industries in Hawai`i include honey production and queen bee rearing for export.
If you’re new to beekeeping or just thinking about getting started, have a look a the “FAQ” link below. Information about bee pests and diseases can be found on the “Bee Health” page. “Current Beevents” will tell you about recent/upcoming bee-related news, including beekeeping classes in the state. “Beesources” provides links to more helpful bee information, including some instructional videos.
What we do Statewide:
- Monitor over 100 swarm traps near ports of entry statewide for bio security to survey for new pest detection and invasive species.
- Inspect all queen breeders in Hawaii quarterly for shipment certificates to ensure disease free export of queen bees.
- Teach classes for free or at low cost, covering a variety of practical beekeeping topics including: Beginning Beekeeping, Honey Bee Health, Swarm Behavior, Queen Rearing, & Products of the Beehive (currently on-hold due to limited staffing).
- Present at fairs and classrooms to educate about pollinator importance and protection, including safe spray practices for home owners, and beekeeping best management practices.
- Maintain a statewide beekeeper registry that provides participants with new pest & disease advisories, locally relevant bee information, swarm removals, our quarterly newsletters, and new product updates.
- Provide free technical hive-side assistance with all aspects of colony health.
- Referrals to beekeepers for honey bee swarms and hive relocation from Hawai‘i residents who request removals.
- Monitor for any suspicious or unlawful behavior. Bringing bees, queens, or used equipment into the state of Hawaii can result in up to $200,000 in fines and several years in prison.
The Value of Hawaii’s Honey Bees:
It is estimated that 1 in 3 bites of food relies on honey bee pollination. Having healthy honey bees in Hawai‘i has great value at home and impacts agriculture worldwide. In addition to the variety of special products Hawai‘i’s honey bees produce including honey, wax, and pollen, the state is a key provider of queen bees to the mainland US and Canada. Hawai‘i’s year round queen rearing capacity is a critical resource to North American agriculture which relies heavily on honey bee pollination.
Honey Production in Hawai`i: $4.1 million/ year
- Hawai‘i ranks number 1 in the US for honey production per colony, with an average production of 112lbs/colony according to the 2016 National Agricultural Statistics Service!
- Abundant diverse plants and year-round forage conditions make this a great place to produce honey.
- Honey from Hawai‘i is prized on the market, with special flavors and textures, some sell for $40/lb!
Queen Bee Production in Hawai`i: Estimated around $10 million/ year
- Hawai‘i is home to the largest queen bee producers in the world, providing 25% of queen bees shipped to the mainland US and 75% of the queens shipped to Canada.
- Demand exceeds supply, beekeepers and growers depend on Hawai‘i’s exported queens. This is a growth industry with very high potential.
- Bio security is key to keeping export markets strong, we must prevent the introduction of Africanized bees and other invasive bee pests!
Agriculture Pollination value in Hawai‘i: $212 million/ year
- Hawai‘i agriculture relies heavily on honey bees for pollination. Many of our crops would not have pollinators without honeybees.
- With the arrival of Varroa on ‘Oahu and Big Island, the feral bees have been largely lost. Managed pollinators play an important role to provide adequate pollination for farmers.
- Mac nuts, avocado, coffee, citrus, and lychee are just a few of the crops that require honeybee pollination for fruit yield. If you like to eat you need bees!
For information on the bee program, contact HDOA at (808) 973-9538.