Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bees and mites: more problems, new investigations

The state's honeybee hives are being damaged by the destructive varroa mite, and the impacts go far beyond reduced honey production.

(Image: Honeybee on a flower. Credit: NOAA Photo Library.)

Aside from the direct effect of the weakening of bees and whole colonies by the bee-blood sucking mites, there are significant indirect impacts.

One is to the bees. The varroa mite not only weakens the bees, but it can also carry bacterial and viral agents that further impact the sick insects.

And for larger society, one of the severe impacts of weak colonies with reduced numbers is that pollination of crops is significantly reduced.

The University of Hawai'i bee project is conducting research into the varroa mite.

“We are interested in developing practical treatment options for local beekeepers and establishing a sound research program that focuses on maintenance and improvement of the Hawaiian honeybees. Reducing the likelihood that the mite will invade other islands, and restricting the big island invasion is also a high priority, and we are investigating procedures for preventing feral bees from being inadvertently transported among islands on ship containers and other vessels,” says the website.

Mark Wright and Ethel Villalobos, of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources' Plant and Environmental Protection Services, are running the bee project. They are asking O'ahu residents to report any wild honeybee hives so they can investigate virus transmission by the mites.

If you come across a wild hive, you can reach the Honeybee Varroa Project at 956-2445 or email uhbeelab@gmail.com.

Have more questions about mites? See the Department of Agriculture's list of frequently asked questions. http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/pi/ppc/varroa-bee-mite-folder/frequently-asked-questions-about-varroa-mites

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009


Anonymous said...

maybe the bees can be mix with this kind of bees.
Apis cerana,


Keahi Pelayo said...

Thank goodness for the bee's, they are a cause we should get concerned about.