Varroa Mite Information

This webpage has been established to keep the bee industry and the public informed of developments to control and manage varroa mites, a very serious pest of bees.

Surveys to detect varroamitesDSCN4974 MR_MF examining bee frame_RH photo_cr  Bees - Clare & Kona Beekeeper 4-07
HDOA Entomologists Mach Fukada (L) and Mohsen Ramadan (R) survey hives on Molokai Plant Quarantine Kona Supervisor Clare Okumoto (L) surveys Kona hives with the assistance of a Kona Beekeeper (R)

In early April 2007, a Manoa beekeeper reported what he suspected was a varroa mite infestation.  It was subsequently confirmed by HDOA and surveys detected the mite around Oahu in managed and feral hives.  To date, surveys have been conducted on Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii Island.

On August 22, 2008, surveillance trapping detected varroa mites in a swarm trap located near Hilo Bay.  HDOA personnel are currently trapping feral bees in the Hilo area and collecting bees from area beekeepers to determine the extent of the varroa infestation in Hilo.

In January 2009, HDOA requested a crisis exemption from the Environmental Protection Agency to use a common pesticide fipronil to eradicate bees within a five-mile radius of Hilo Harbor.  The exemption was valid for 15 days and HDOA is assessing the effectiveness of the latest eradication program.

The Plant Pest Control Branch, Plant Quarantine Branch and the Pesticides Branch of HDOA have been working with the local bee industry to develop a strategic plan for the containment, control and management of the varroa mite situation in Hawaii.  The goal of the plan is to control the mite population to very low levels on O`ahu and to prevent the mite from moving to uninfested islands.

Suspected bee mite infestations in areas other than Oahu and Hawaii Island, should be reported immediately to the state’s toll-free Pest Hotline at 643-PEST (7378) or to Apiculture Specialist, Danielle Downey in Hilo at (808)936-5483.


Links to News Releases on Varroa Mite:

January 7, 2009 News Release

November 17, 2008 News Release

November 11, 2008 News Release

October 30, 2008 News Release

September 12, 2008 News Release

September 9, 2008 News Release

September 1, 2008 News Release

August 25, 2008 News Release

August 22, 2008 News Release

April 11, 2007 News Release

Link to Honolulu Star-Bulletin Commentary by Chairperson Sandra Lee Kunimoto (9-16-08)

Link to Honolulu Advertiser Commentary by Neil Reimer (7-1-07)

female varroa mite  Varroa Mite