Bee mites have spread on Oahu
Honeybee mites have spread to several locations on Oahu, the state Department of Agriculture said yesterday.
No honeybee mites have been detected on neighbor islands as of yet, but state inspectors are still checking.
The varroa mite, considered one of the most serious honeybee pests in the world, was first detected in Manoa and Makiki in early April, and has since been found in hives in Waima-nalo, Ewa, Kunia, Kahaluu and Punaluu, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
Spokeswoman Janelle San-eishi said hives on Molokai were being surveyed yesterday, with hives on Maui and Lanai to be surveyed next.
None of the hives on the Big Island, where a handful of beekeepers run queen bee export businesses, or Kauai, have been found to contain the varroa mite thus far.
No official quarantine, she said, can be issued until the state teams complete their survey.
Interisland shipper Young Brothers Ltd. did receive an April 18 memo from the agriculture department informing it of a ban on the movement of used bee equipment between islands.
Michael Kliks, owner of Manoa Honey Co. and president of the Hawaii Beekeepers Association, meanwhile, is seeking $24,950 in emergency funds from the state to survey and deal with the varroa mites.
Kliks said the amount was based on about $50 per hive for an estimated 500 managed colonies on Oahu.
He said he took close to $4,000 out of the National Honey Board's funds to help beekeepers to purchase equipment to combat the mites.
Several miticide treatments are available, including fluvalinate Apistan strips, Apiguard and Sucrocide. But use of some of those treatments would prevent beekeepers from claiming to produce certified organic honey.
"We all have to struggle to get this done quickly," Kliks said. "Summer is the nectar flowing season."