Small hive beetles harmful to bees found on Kauai

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - Beetles that pose a serious threat to honeybees have been found on Kauai.

They were first detected on the Big Island in April 2010 and have since spread to Oahu, Maui and Molokai.

The state Department of Agriculture says a beekeeper in Lihue noticed last week unusual beetles on some beekeeping equipment near his hives. Samples were sent to Honolulu, where it was confirmed they're small hive beetles.

The small hive beetle is native to sub-Saharan Africa and feeds on honey, pollen, wax, honeybee eggs and larvae.

The yellowish-brown beetles tunnel through the hive, damaging or destroying the honeycomb and contaminating the honey.

The extent of infestation on the island is being surveyed.

Agriculture officials note bees are critical pollinators of many Hawaii food crops.

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