Nearly half of honeybee colonies died last year. Hawaii beekeepers are fighting that

The study says 48% of honeybee colonies have died within the past year due to multiple factors.
Published: Jun. 27, 2023 at 12:03 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 27, 2023 at 12:07 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly half of managed honeybee colonies in the United States were lost in just the last year.

That’s according to a respected, annual bee survey from the University of Maryland and Auburn University.

It’s the second highest annual death rate on record, but how are honeybees faring in Hawaii?

“The biggest threat is definitely the varroa mite, and the diseases, the viral diseases it carries,” said Ethel Villalobos from the University of Hawaii Honeybee Project.

Honeybees are essential to the food supply and pollinate more than 100 of the crops we eat.

Scientists like Villalobos say parasites, pesticides, starvation and climate change keep causing large die-offs, but honeybees in Hawaii do a little better.

Villalobos credits the work local beekeepers do to build our state’s numbers and fight population decline. Many of those beekeepers like Peter Morrow (who owns Honeybee Rescue) say its a passion and a lifestyle more than a job.

“It is tough work and you just can’t hire employees,” Morrow said. “It’s a passion, and luckily me and my son are doing this together. It’s just, it’s great to be doing this about three and a half years and kind of really got deep into this when it came to the removal side of doing bees to save them.”

Live bee removal is something his business offers and the greater bee communities say doing that safely and humanely (in a way that protects people and the bees) will be a big component of keeping bees around for future generations.

If you’d like to learn more about the UH Honeybee Project, click here.

To learn more about Honeybee Rescue and the services it offers, click here.