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Hawaii Pollinator Week focuses on role of bees in maintaining diverse ecosystems

Hawaii_Oahu_Bees_PollinationProtecting bee populations

In 2007, invasive Varroa mites were discovered in hives on both Oahu and the Big Island. Fortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that the mites have spread to other islands.

Here are some ways to help protect the bee populations:

• Avoid pesticides containing neonicotinoid (already banned in various European countries). Neonicotinoid, as well as other similar insecticide ingredients like imidacloprid and clothianidin are toxic to most mammals.

• Support local beekeepers by selecting honey with “Made in Hawaii” labels and avoid processed honey, which contains none of the beneficial properties found in bee pollen.

• Build your own beehive! Beekeeping is a largely commercial industry, which can reduce diversity, pollinating range, and overall health of colonies. By setting up your own hive, you can help to maintain biodiversity, and you’ll know exactly where your honey is coming from.

• Write to your congressional representative. Groups such as the Pollinator Partnership maintain that the spread of Colony Collapse Disorder is in needs more public awareness, and more funding is needed for bee research. Also, in places like Hawaii, it is important to make sure that transportation laws prevent the spread of diseases and pests.

For more information and news about bees, click here. Click here for a list of Hawaiian Bee Association certified honey producers.

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Photos: beekeeping operation near Kauai’s south shore/David Croxford

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