News Release – NR08-19 – August 25, 2008

Posted on Aug 25, 2008 in 2008 News Releases, News-Releases

HONOLULU – Two more varroa mites were found among 2,850 bees from a feral beehive in Hilo over the weekend.  Last Friday, varroa mites were detected in a swarm trap in the Hilo Bay area.   Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) staff conducting additional testing on that swarm trap have revised the total number of varroa mites found in that swarm trap to 12 mites in the collection of about 20,000 bees.

HDOA continues to urge Hilo residents to report feral beehives and bee swarms to the State’s toll-free PestHotline at 643-PEST (7378).  HDOA is also asking beekeepers and the public not to transport bees or beekeeping equipment in or out of a 15-mile radius of Hilo Bay.

“We appreciate the public’s help in informing us of the location of feral bee hives,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture.  ”It was a call from the public that reported the feral hive that the two varroa mites were detected this weekend.”

An Incident Command System has been established on the Big Island to coordinate and manage rapid response efforts.  HDOA personnel from Oahu have been supplementing Hilo staff in setting about 60 swarm traps in the Hilo area and another 60 traps in the process of being deployed.  Staff is also taking samples from all managed beehives within a 15-mile radius of Hilo Bay.  So far, no varroa mites have been found in managed beehives on Hawai`i Island.

Varroa mites are serious honey bee pests that occur almost worldwide.  In April 2007, varroa mites were reported by a beekeeper in Manoa on Oahu and since then, HDOA has been monitoring swarm traps around ports as an early detection method in case any varroa mites hitchhike to neighboring islands.

More information on varroa mites is available on the department’s varroa mite webpage at: http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/pi/ppc/varroa-bee-mite-page

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