Saturday, January 10, 2009

Video: Hawaii Bees Face Mite Threat

Mite Poison Brings Honey Caution
By Rod Thompson, Star-Bulletin, 1/8/2009

Watch the video.

The state plan to control a mite infestation now includes killing every bee within five miles of Hilo harbor.

The mites are tiny, spiderlike parasites that infect honeybees.

Since the mites were first detected on the Big Island on Aug. 20, officials have made several unsuccessful attempts to eradicate them, said Lyle Wong, head of the state Plant Industry Division.

Following those failures, the department is now setting out 200 baiting stations with low concentrations of an insecticide called fipronil, he said.

Fipronil has been widely used since 1996 in many crop and noncrop applications, Wong said. To use it to kill infected bees, the Department of Agriculture had to declare a special 15-day "crisis exemption" from restrictions on fipronil by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Wong said.

If bees near the harbor are not killed, the parasitic mites could spread to the entire island and cause a crash in the wild bee population…

No comments: