Hawaiian Honeybees Threatened by Bloodsucking Parasite
Monday , August 25, 2008
HILO, Hawaii —
A state rapid response team is in Hilo to try to contain a bee mite parasite.
The parasite is posing a threat to the island's $4 million commercial honeybee industry and the island's agriculture, officials said.
The parasite is a reddish-brown, crab-looking varroa mite.
The mites are found worldwide and feed on the blood of honeybees, weakening the adults and deforming the young until the hive collapses.
The team plans to destroy all wild beehives within five miles of Hilo Bay.
Agriculture Department staff will hand out sticky traps with miticides to help beekeepers kill the mites.
Four parasites were found last week in Hilo, which was the first detection outside of Oahu. Read More
The role of honeybees in agriculture is incredibly important. They are responsible for much of the pollination that occurs. Over the last several years, our honeybee population has taken a hit due to disease. Now a parasite that has invaded Hawaii is causing more damage. The protection of our honeybees is vital to the success of several other areas of agriculture.