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Beekeepers report big losses

by 4totale on March 15, 2011

Aloha Men,

For those who are wanting more info on Bees this is article is of some note..

Roy

Beekeepers report big
losses
from
http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com
By Carolyn Lucas-Zenk

Stephens Media

Published: Friday, February
18, 2011 10:20 AM HST

Pests threaten isle’s pollinators

Varroa mites, small hive beetles and
nosema spores have created major losses for Big Island beekeepers. Of
even greater concern may be the loss of pollination to the
agricultural industry.

State agriculture officials estimate the value of bees to crops
statewide to be close to $50 million. Fruit and vegetable crops are
among those dependent upon bees.

“About 30 percent of the food we eat
is pollinated by bees,” said Richard Spiegel, Volcano Island
Honey Co. owner.
Bees provide essential cross-fertilization
of plants and increased percentage of fruit set. For instance,
macadamia nut trees heavily depend on bees for cross-pollination with
different varieties for strong fruit sets, said Cary Dizon, Big Island
Beekeepers Association president.

“We’ve had a devastating year of attacks on Big Island hives.
Besides negative effects on the honey business, significant losses of
our bees means we may see lower production and quality on farms, fruit
trees and in gardens,” she said. “We may see Big Island
farmers with paint brushes hand-pollinating certain crops just like
Oahu farmers did, but nothing is as efficient as the bee.”

Last year, 55 Big Island beekeepers lost 2,508 honey bee colonies, or
55 percent of the 4,589 colonies reported at the beginning of 2010,
according to a survey by Big Island Beekeepers Association and Honey
Bee Education Project. Survey participants represent half the island’s
estimated beekeepers. Eighty-one percent are hobbyists and 19 percent
operate commercially.

Neil Reimer, Plant Pest Control Branch chief for the state Department
of Agriculture, didn’t know the total number of beekeepers islandwide.
“The state has difficulty collecting information about the
beekeeping industry because Hawaii doesn’t require beekeepers to be
registered or certified,” he said.

Of the 55 beekeepers surveyed, 91 percent
lost at least one colony and 35 percent lost all colonies. A typical
beehive will have at least 10,000 bees, Dizon said.

Most beekeepers, 79 percent, attributed
losses to the small hive beetle, which feeds upon honey, pollen, wax,
honeybee eggs and larvae. This pest tunnels through the honeycomb,
damaging or destroying it and contaminating honey. The remaining 24
percent of beekeepers blamed the beetle and varroa mite, a
blood-sucking microscopic pest that reduces bees’ strength, immunity
and vigor to fight off disease, such as a spore-producing fungus
called nosema ceranae, Dizon said.

read the whole article at
http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/articles/2011/02/18/features/features04.txt

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