Letters for Friday, June 27, 2014

• Rescue tubes are proven lifesavers • Keep honey bees alive, but not in the house • Trying to eradicate feral cats is wrong

Rescue tubes are proven lifesavers

That sure was a sad photo of the cut-up rescue tube serving as a float for someone’s fish box (TGI, June 25). I have four very happy facts that balance this out.

First, vandalism of the rescue tubes is actually very rare, and the truth is that our citizens have bought into this program in a big way. The other day I was changing out a weathered tube and was taking it back to my truck to get a new one, and a local man yelled “Hey bra, no take that.” Once I showed him what I was up to all was well, I was off the hot seat.

Second, we have a dedicated maintenance team of individuals who check our stations every few weeks.

Third, the Kauai Lifeguard Association has a committed cadre of donors who believe in this program and in our other programs, and we simply replace any lost or vandalized or weathered tubes whenever some one calls in about one (822-3695 or toll-free, 1-855-600-2345).

Fourth and most important: We have documented rescue tube deployment in over 70 critical situations. My case-by-case review of these incidents tells me that there are at least 20 people walking around, families intact, because of this program. Just a couple of weeks ago a 12-year-old-girl was saved out at Hanalei pier. She got into severe distress after jumping in the water, and two of her quick-thinking young friends threw in one of our rescue tubes we have there, then jumped in themselves (Our rescue tubes will float four people). Our Hanalei pavilion lifeguards are a ways away and by the time they sped to the scene all parties were stable. One of the lifeguards, a Hawaiian legend, told me “she would have died if there hadn’t been the rescue tube.” Unimaginable loss was replaced by happiness.

Thank you Kauai for respecting and supporting this program as you do!

Monty Downs, M.D., President Kauai Lifeguard Association

Keep honey bees alive, but not in the house

 Has a swarm of honey bees invaded your house? The first time it happened, I was suspended in shock while watching a black cloud, hundreds of bees, swooping and searching for an entrance into my lanai ceiling. Well, they discovered a crack, called it home and built a big honeycomb. A beekeeper had to bust out the ceiling, take the queen and her swarm away. A big, expensive mess! June is the height of the bee season that goes on through Oct. I finally found a solution that works. Yes, they returned last week, but this time, they entered my swarm trap and not my ceiling.

My intent is to offer some information so as to prevent the agony I experienced while crying out, “Oh no, here they come again,” over a period of six years.

Please don’t resort to poison. Honey bees are threatened by the varoa mite on other islands and small hive beetle here on Kauai. Scientists believe that widespread pesticide (especially neonicotinoids and organophosphates ) use and wildfires are responsible for colony collapse disorder that has halved domestic bee populations in the USA and Europe in only seven years. These pollinators are responsible for our food supply. Disaster would strike if honey bees should become extinct. If you are not prepared and they invade your ceiling or wall, you can call the Kauai Bee Keepers Association, Jimmy: 346-7725, and ask for a beekeeper to remove the swarm. That’s the hard way, better to prepare your house to prevent an invasion in the first place. 

1. Call 1(800) Bees Wax and order Fischer’s Bee Quick, the only non-toxic bee repellant. Spray it on the outside or inside of the house or lanai where you have seen entry points. I just heard about this and it gets rave reviews.

2. The swarm trap solution worked like a charm for me this year. I ordered it online and hung it outside the lanai under the eves in the area they entered previously. It’s necessary to get a bee lure (Amazon.com) called a pheromone, which I placed in the trap. It comes in a tiny tube and emits an oder that attracts bees before entering my lanai. I bought two with the trap last year and stored one tube in the frig. But I forgot about it until a frantic friend called to ask advise about her bee problem last week. Thankfully, I replaced the old pheromone in the hive just two days before my recent invasion. It worked! The queen with her entourage flew into trap and happily made herself at home. I called a beekeeper who came by after dark to remove the trap filled with sleeping bees, and transferred them to his own hive where they will produce honey. Talk to the Kauai beekeepers about swarm trap removal as well as a house invasion.

Good luck and bee prepared!

Gabriela Taylor, Keapana Valley

Trying to eradicate feral cats is wrong

As a recent visitor to Kauai, I really enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere with friendliness evident everywhere. I was shocked to hear that obliteration of the feral cat population is being considered and voted upon in the near future. That is unacceptable for an area that relies upon tourism, for just one reason. I cannot speak as a local, but I can speak as one who totally enjoyed the vacation of a lifetime. Capture, spay/neuter and release is the only viable option to the overpopulation problem. Let the world know if you need funding. People will donate to save lives. 

Please don’t put a huge black mark on a place that is so beautiful.

Eileen D Burnell, Belmont, NH


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