News Release – NR08-25 – October 30, 2008

Posted on Oct 30, 2008 in 2008 News Releases, News-Releases

HONOLULU – One varroa mite was detected in Hilo today, in very close proximity to where the bee mites were first detected near Hilo Bay.  Personnel from the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) have been continuously trapping, monitoring and testing bees since the varroa mites were first discovered on the island in August.

The one mite was found in a collection of 50 bees caught in a baited trap that was within a few hundred yards of the site where the first varroa mites were detected in a swarm trap.  Crews were immediately dispatched to locate any feral bee colonies in the area.

“The detection of one varroa mite very close to the initial positive site gives us hope that the mites have not traveled far,” said Neil Reimer, HDOA Plant Pest Control manager.  “We have intensified our efforts to take out all bees in that particular area.”

Since the first detection of varroa mites on Hawai`i Island, HDOA personnel have found 45 mites from a total of about 261,500 bees collected.

August 22 – 12 mites found in a swarm trap
August 23 – two mites were found in a wild hive
August 29 – 24 mites found in a swarm trap
September 6-7 – five mites found in a wild hive
September 11 – one mite found in a wild hive
October 30 – one mite found in a bait trap

Varroa mites have not been detected in any hives managed by beekeepers on Hawai`i Island.  HDOA staff has been meeting with island beekeepers and keeping them informed of the eradication efforts.

To date, HDOA has deployed and monitored about 200 swarm traps to trap feral bee colonies and about 60 bait stations around the island.  They have also sampled about 115 feral hives and treated and destroyed about 100 feral hives in the Hilo area.

HDOA will continue to collect samples in Hilo and around Hawai`i Island to determine the extent of the varroa mite infestation.  Hilo residents are asked to report wild beehives and bee swarms to the State’s toll-free Pest Hotline 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.

More information on varroa mites, including previous news releases, is available on the department’s webpage at: