News Release – NR08-28 – November 17, 2008

Posted on Nov 17, 2008 in 2008 News Releases, News-Releases

HONOLULU – A large feral beehive was found today by Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) staff and about 60 varroa mites were collected from a sample of 5,400 bees from that hive.  The feral hive is located in the airport area in an old quarry.  Last week, one varroa mite was detected on Wednesday (11/14) and 14 mites were detected on Thursday (11/13) in bait traps located about a few hundred yards away from the infested hive.

“The close proximity of the feral hives to the varroa mite detections last week render it likely that the hive was the source of the mites,” said Neil Reimer, manager of the Plant Pest Control Branch.  “Crews are now working on treating the hive.”

Personnel from HDOA have been continuously trapping, monitoring and testing bees since the varroa mites were first discovered on the island in August.  Forty-three bait stations and about 200 swarm traps have been deployed in the Hilo area to trap feral bees.  More than 100 feral hives have been treated and destroyed.

Since the first detection of varroa mites on Hawai`i Island in August 2008, HDOA personnel have found five hives and two swarms infested with mites from a total of about 150 hives sampled.  All of the detections have been within about a one-mile radius, which indicates that the varroa mites may not have traveled from where they were first detected.  Varroa mites have not been detected in any hives managed by beekeepers on Hawai`i Island.


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: