Beekeeping in Hawaii

Beekeeping in Hawaii

Historically, beekeeping in Hawaii was an activity limited to a small number of people. In 1857, German dark bees were shipped to Honolulu. They arrived in good condition, and soon multiplied into nine hives in one year. In 1880, the Italian honey bee was brought to the Islands. These hives were quickly replaced by feral colonies. Before long, the activity became a hobby for amateur beekeepers. By the late 1890s, the number of hives on the island rose dramatically.


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Next week, beekeepers on the island of Hawaii will gather for a meeting of the Western Apicultural Society, which will focus on beekeeping in Hawaii and colony collapse disorder. The conference will be held at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in Kamuela, and the topic will be “Beekeeping in Hawaii: Improving the honeybee industry on the islands.” The meeting will be chaired by Eric Mussen, a five-time past president of the WAS and an expert on a variety of insect diseases and pests.

Some farmers also use honeybee colonies to pollinate crops. In the Panaewa region of Hilo, Bryne Kubo uses 60 of her beehives to pollinate her macadamia nut crop. Russell Messing, a professor at UH Hilo, notes that Hawai’i beekeepers are just starting to receive fees from commercial growers for pollination services. While feral bee populations are probably more than sufficient for commercial pollination, island beekeepers are recognizing the potential for bringing more honey into the local economy.

Honey bees

This study shows that the genetic composition of Hawaiian honey bee populations differs from that of bees in the continental U.S., indicating that the islands were not frequently exchanged. Hawaiian bees have high levels of COI-COII haplotype variation compared to the continental bees. In addition, Hawaiian bees are largely M derived, indicating that the populations there have been managed or wild for at least 100 years.

There are two main types of regulations regarding the production of honey in Hawaii. First, producers must obtain a commercial permit from the State Department of Health. The agency also samples bee products to ensure the quality of honey. Second, beekeeping is prohibited in residential zones, though conditional permits may be granted. Third, beekeepers should pay attention to local laws and regulations. Moreover, the State Department of Health has several rules and regulations related to beekeeping, which vary by county. Nevertheless, the City and County of Honolulu allow beekeeping in all zones, as long as the bees are at least 25 feet from property.

Aside from being prohibited from bringing in imported bees, farmers in Hawaii must acquire their bees from local stock. This is a challenge due to the lack of temperate winter and the varying microclimates in the islands. As a result, beekeepers cannot easily look for patterns to guide their decisions. Similarly, a standardized apicultural calendar would be impossible to develop because different circumstances are required for queen production and honey production.


The Western Apicultural Society recently met on Hawaii’s island of Oahu from October 12-15. The event was held at the Ala Moana Hotel on Waikiki Beach and was a unique location because it is situated on an extinct volcano. The theme of the meeting was “new insights into old questions.” The society spanned the Pacific Northwest to the Midway Atoll.

The Hawaiian honey beetle is a new stressor for bee populations and has swept the islands. Researchers conducted research on beetle population patterns and assessed endogenous and environmental factors that affect bee health in the islands. The beetle population in Hawaii peaks during winter months, which is unusual compared to mainland populations. In addition, the research was conducted at different times of the year to study how seasonal variations in food availability and weather affect the number of beetles.

The research results will be widely disseminated, including workshops, field days, printed materials, and scientific meetings. The findings will be used to create and improve educational materials and outreach programs for small and medium-scale beekeepers on the islands. The findings will be published in scientific journals and disseminate to local beekeepers and growers. Pollination of crops in Hawaii depends on the presence of bees.


The battle between beekeeping in Hawaii and pesticides is raging. The state’s agro-chemical use has been blamed for a bee die-off that began around 2007. While the cause remains unclear, environmental groups have pointed to neonic pesticides as the culprit. However, more studies are needed to determine how pesticides impact bees. Dr. Lorna Tsutsumi of Hawaii State University has been studying the subject for the past several years and has been teaching classes on beekeeping and honey production.

While the state government does not ban the use of pesticides, it does regulate the import of live bees and used beekeeping equipment. This is necessary to control the varroa mite population on the islands, and HDOA has passed laws requiring licensed beekeepers to monitor their bees. The pesticides that are currently licensed for use in Hawaii are Apistan and triclosan, two of the most commonly used chemical pesticides. However, Apistan has become resistant to the varroa mite, and it is recommended that you use other pesticides for control of the mites.

Queen bees

The climate in Hawaii is ideal for raising queen bees. The average annual temperature in the Big Island remains between 75 and 85 degrees. During this time, there are many flowering plants in bloom on the slopes and verdant valleys. The unique conditions of the island allow for a robust queen bee production, and the honey produced is rich in tropical nectar, caramel, butterscotch, hints of coffee, and smoke.

The honey produced by Hawaiian bees is among the most prized in the country, and the state ranks first in honey production per colony. This sweet, delicious honey is sold for over $40 a pound and is prized worldwide. Beekeeping in Hawaii provides a unique way to earn a living while helping the environment. Hawaii’s honey is one of the world’s highest-priced varieties, and the demand for it far outpaces the supply.

However, importing hives and queens to Hawaii from outside the state is illegal. Beekeepers are prohibited from bringing hives or queens from other states and are subject to fines of up to $200,000 and years in jail. Because Hawaiian honey bees contribute to global agriculture, the export of queen bees from Hawaii is vital for the health of the bees. Beekeeping in Hawaii is important for the state’s economy, as it is a major provider of queen bees to the continental US and Canada. Hawaii’s swarm trapping and queen rearing capacity make it a vital resource for the North American agricultural industry.

Queen bee colonies

The tropical climate of Hawaii may be conducive to breeding queen bees. The tropical island boasts abundant floral resources. Beekeeping in Hawai’i boasts the highest annual honey production per hive (59.4 kg in 2017). Pollen production and brood production are positively related, while the environment is conducive to swarming, which is beneficial to beekeeping in Hawaii.

In Hawaii, there are 10 beekeepers producing queen bee colonies. Almost all of them are located on the islands. The Hawaii Apiary Program inspects each colony for pests and diseases. Since Hawaii closed its borders to bee imports in 1908, there have been no cases of bee diseases or varroa mite. The tiny hive beetle, which only inhabits Oahu and Hawaii Island, is absent in Hawaii.

After mating, the queen changes physiology. Within three to four days, the ovaries develop. A high-quality queen can produce a minimum of 1,500-2,000 eggs per day and live two to three years. Beekeepers requeen their queens annually or every two years, depending on the size and health of their hives. The quality of a queen also affects the performance of a colony.

Queen bee producers

Unlike mainland bees, which are prone to being attacked by Africanized bees, the native bees of Hawaii are gentler. The state produces two kinds of queens – the Italian and Carniolan. Both types produce honey, but one has more flavor and more nuance. Hawaii has many beekeepers who export queens to other states. But it is a good idea to buy Hawaii-grown bees to ensure that they are safe from the ravages of disease.

Honey bees contribute $20 billion to U.S. crop production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In Hawaii, a “big chunk” of the almond industry receives queens produced by Hawaii beekeepers. Bee colonies consist of a single queen and a small number of male “drones,” which are relatively insignificant. Hawaii is home to one-hundred bee colonies with one queen and few males.

The researchers’ study of bee populations on Oahu and the Big Island also found that conditions affecting the frequency and season of swarms were not optimal. A number of factors, including biotic and climatic factors, reduced the chances of swarm captures. In addition, a high rate of queen failure was recorded in both swarms and established colonies. Consequently, it was important to develop and implement better management practices to combat these challenges.

Honey bee population differences

The Hawaiian Islands have 63 native species of bees, including the endangered yellow-faced bee. While the yellow-faced bee does not produce honey or live in hives, it is more closely related to a wasp. According to Mogren, who co-wrote a paper examining the interactions between native and honey bee populations, the honey bees spend less time visiting the same flowers as their native counterparts. The study suggests that competition for resources or competitive exclusion may be at work.

mtDNA data revealed that Hawaiian honey bee populations were genetically distinct from those of the continental United States. M-derived haplotypes were more common on Hawaii’s Hawaiian Islands than in the mainland. Although C-lineage honey bees dominate the mainland, Hawaii is home to a high proportion of M-derived haplotypes, suggesting that the M-derived haplotypic haplotypes had persisted in the islands’ wild and managed populations.

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