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Varroa destructor Mite

This page provides information on the Varroa destructor mite and its presence in Hawaii

Varroa destructor
Close-up view of a varroa mite.
Photo by: Walter Nagamine, entomologist, HDOA

In 2007 the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, was detected on honey bees in Hawai`i for the first time in 4 hives that had been abandoned for some years on the grounds of the Makiki Nature Center in urban Honolulu. The HBA is working closely with the Department of Agriculture to survey the surrounding area and the entire island of O`ahu in order to locate and contain this infestation ASAP.

Please refer any calls related to sighting of any honey bee swarms or feral colonies to Michael Kliks at 988-7203 in Honolulu so that we can locate the bees and collect adequate samples from them for detecting mites and map the distribution of this destructive parasite.

Do not move any managed honey bee colonies within the City and County of Honolulu or between islands until further notice!

I have attached some documents below relating to Varroa on the Mainland, and a web link (below) to the NZ plan for controlling this parasite when it was discovered there a few years ago.

Please contact me regarding training and materials needed to quantitatively detect Varroa in your managed colonies using the "alcohol shake" method or by examining drone pupae. This is a disaster for beekeeping in Hawai`i! All that we can do now is to manage it. MMK

News articles related to Hawaii

Lingle nixes more money to fight bee killer
Hawaii Tribune Herald, Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Varroa mites are downtown and the Super Ferry is in port
Email send to legislators, Monday, December 03, 2007

Varroa mites may already be on the Superferry due to Dept. of Agriculture neglect
Disappeared News, Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bee-killing mite could easily hitchhike on ferry
The Maui News, Letter to the Editor, Sunday, July 29, 2007

Oahu honeybees imperiled
The Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, July 8, 2007

Invasive species will be among Superferry interisland passengers
The Maui News, Letters to the Editor, Tuesday, June 19, 2007

To Bee or Not to Bee
A mite infestation is laying waste to bee colonies on Oahu. There's a good chance they'll soon be on Maui. If that happens, much of the island's agriculture may dissappear, too.
MauiTime Magazine, May 31, 2007

Deadly Parasite: Worldwide plague reaches Hawai'i
Hawaii Island Journal, May 5, 2007

$650,000 is appropriated to attack mite killing bees
The Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, May 4, 2007

Bee Happy! Tests show there are no bee mites on Molokai
The Molokai Dispatch, Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Molokai beekeepers celebrate: No mites found on Molokai
The Molokai Times, April 30, 2007

Serious Bee Mite Found On Honey Bees In Hawaii
Press Release, Hawaii Dep't of Agriculture, April 27, 2007

Bee mites have spread on Oahu
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bee parasites found in more parts of Oahu
Pacific Business News (Honolulu), April 26, 2007

Destructive Mite Threatens Hawaii Bees
International Business Times, April 26, 2007

Discovery of bee mite on Oahu could close honey businesses
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Saturday, April 14, 2007

Discovery of bee mite on Oahu could close honey businesses
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Saturday, April 14, 2007

Tiny mite big threat to bee industry
The Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, April 13, 2007

Honey bees quarantined
Pacific Business News (Honolulu), April 12, 2007

Resource documents from other regions

Varroa mite control in South Carolina (PDF)
Clemson Univ. Cooperative Extension Service

Operational Plan to eradicate Varroa from New Zealand

Disease Strategy: Bee diseases and pests from Australia

Honey Comb

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