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Honey Bee Disease Pops Up on the Big Island

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

A case of a harmful honey bee disease has popped up on the Big Island.

Last week, a routine inspection by the Department of Agriculture’s Apiary Program found a hive infected with the American foulbrood disease.

The disease is deadly to honeybees and has become resistant to antibiotics.

Wikimedia Commons
Credit Wikimedia Commons

It can be identified by sticking a small toothpick into a bee cell. If it comes out with a putrid, rope-like goo, the hive is diseased.

In the past year, there have been four reported cases of beehives infected with the disease statewide. 

American foulbrood can also be easily spread to other beehives. This happens when bees from other hives rob an infected colony, and take the disease's spores back to their hive.

Lauren Rusert is the Section Chief of the Apiary Program.

She says it’s important to protect Hawai?i’s honey bees and be vigilant about the disease.

Rusert says beekeepers should check on their hives to make sure they’re healthy, and that the Apiary Program is more than happy to help.

More information about the Apiary Program or Hawai?i's honey bees can be found here: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/ppc/apiary-program-hawaii-beekeepers-registry/

Listen to an extended cut here:


Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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