Varroa Mites

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Invasive Species

Varroa Mites

These things don’t attack humans, but they are dangerous to our economy.

On Wednesday, August 20, 2008, bees caught in a swarm trap in Hilo, near the Hilo Seaside Hotel, were found to have four varroa mites. This is the first detection of these mites on the Big Island, which has most of the state’s major queen bee export businesses. The varroa mite is a serious honeybee pest that occurs almost worldwide. Severe infestations of the mite will result in an eventual decline of bee colonies and a reduced honeybee population. This will significantly reduce the pollination of many commercial and residential fruit trees and vegetable crops, resulting in poor yields and low-quality produce.

Varroa Mites on Bees


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The adult mites are tiny 1-1.5mm reddish-brown, crab-shaped, flattened mites. They are external parasites that attack honey bee adults, larvae, and pupae and use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to feed on the hemolymph (blood) of bees.

What to do?

If you see this pest, or if you see honeybees or beekeeping equipment being moved between islands, please call 1-808-643-PEST (643-7378) or visit Hawaii Invasive Species Council.


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