State bee specialist at KCC today

LIHU‘E — Hawai‘i State Apiary Specialist Danielle Downey will be at Kaua‘i Community College this evening to give a free presentation on beekeeping and inform Kaua‘i residents on ways they can get involved in keeping the island free of varroa mite and small bee hive beetle.

“Downey will be focusing her discussion on updates from the statewide effort to manage, control and eliminate common honeybee diseases and how to identify, treat and prevent them from becoming problematic for beekeepers,” states a news release from Kaua‘i Beekeepers Association.

Small bee hive beetles have been found on the Big Island, Maui, Molokai and O‘ahu. The varroa mite has been found on Big Island and O‘ahu. Kaua‘i is considered free of the pests.

The presentation, offered through a partnership between KBee and KCC Apiary Program, is open to beekeepers, “wanna beekeepers,” and anyone else who may be interested, the release states.

A brief legislative update on the state’s plan for assisting local beekeepers and helping Kaua‘i keep the small hive beetle and varroa mite off the Garden Island will also bee included in the discussion.  

The KCC Apiary Program, in partnership with KBee and Garden Island Resource Conservation and Development, has also received funding from the county Office of Economic Development to provide services and training for Kaua‘i beekeepers.

Support for Kaua‘i beekeepers may also come from the state Legislature with the recent passing Senate Bill 2100 for Gov. Neil Abercrombie to sign into law.

The bill provides funding to the University of Hawai‘i system for honeybee research and apiary development: $5,000 for each county, including Kaua‘i, plus $10,000 for UH Hilo, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource, Management.

Downey’s presentation will be today at the Multi-purpose Room 114 of KCC’s Electronic and Technology Building, at 6 p.m.

Following the discussion, the KCC Apiary Program’s Bee Lab will bee open for a tour and honey samples.

While on Kaua‘i, Downey will also bee assisting KCC Apiary Program instructors Francis Takahashi and Jimmy Trujillo with technical training to increase the capacity of the apiary program.

KCC has been offering beekeeping courses to the community members through the Office of Continuing Education and Training and the Ho’ouluwehi Program’s Sustainable Agriculture Program with funding from a federal Rural Development Program grant.

For more information about upcoming courses or to enroll in the next apiary course, which is Saturday, contact KCC at 245- 8318 or Trujillo at 245-8380.

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