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4-H for Hawai‘i

4-H for Hawai‘i 8 June 2017

4-H for Hawai‘i

It's not just livestock

Beyond livestock, 4-H promotes youth well-being, leadership skills, community engagement, and STEM activities, says state coordinator Jeff Goodwin.

The Bee’s Knees

The Bee’s Knees 7 June 2017

The Bee’s Knees

Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences’s Scott Nikaido explains the importance of pollinators to Hawai‘i crops and how people can support pollinator health by using fewer insecticides and more pollinator-friendly plants.

Prepared Youth

Prepared Youth 17 May 2017

Prepared Youth

Hawai‘i is the second state that trained adults to instruct kids in a youth preparedness national pilot project. 3 4-H agents were certified through the Hawai‘i Youth Preparedness Initiative.

A Web Winner

A Web Winner 11 May 2017

A Web Winner

Hawai‘i Association of County Agricultural Agents nominated Andrea Kawabata for their national organization’s Communications Award for her coffee berry borer beetle website.

GoFarm Grows

4 May 2017

GoFarm Grows

The GoFarm Hawai‘i beginning farmer training program received new grants from the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Hawai‘i Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, and Kamehameha Schools.

Prevent the Parasite

4 May 2017

Prevent the Parasite

With new cases of rat lungworm reported in the Islands, Extension Agent Jari Sugano was featured on Hawaii News Now offering some tips on reducing the risk of the disease.

Gut Feeling

Gut Feeling 4 May 2017

Gut Feeling

GoFarm and Ag Incubator alumnus and entrepreneur Rob Barreca and graduate student Surely Wallace promoted fermented foods in a recent Honolulu Star-Advertiser article.

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11 September 2019

Getting Some Buzz

Video on bee virus is going viral

Getting Some Buzz

Bee health researcher Ethel Villalobos (PEPS) is featured in a recent episode of the video series How Close Are We, which looks at possible solutions to some of the world’s major problems and questions. It asks, “How Close Are We to solving some of humanity’s biggest challenges? We go in search of experts, dive into the facts, and comb through the research to find out just how close we are to changing the world.” 

Executive producer Anna Campbell, who was interested in Ethel’s work, contacted her to speak about just that for the episode “How Close Are We to Saving the Bees?” Filmed by local videographer Jonathan Keao, Ethel discusses Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious phenomenon in which whole bee colonies disappear for reasons that are still unclear. Ethel explains that beekeepers lose 40 percent or more of their bee colonies each year during the winter, and, as she vividly describes it, discovering what is going wrong is like “trying to do an autopsy without a body.” It is known, however, that it has something to do with the “four P’s”: parasites, pathogens, pesticides, and poor nutrition. 

An important parasite Ethel describes is the varroa mite, on which she’s an expert. It’s a vector of Deformed wing virus (DWV), which leads to shriveled, unusable wings that make foraging and other essential activities difficult, if not impossible.

One way to counteract Colony Collapse Disorder, Ethel says, is to enrich the bees’ diet with supplements that can give them “superhero strength,” so they will be better able to fight off parasites and pathogens. A vitamin-rich fungal extract from polypore mushrooms has exciting potential, lowering the rate of DWV by 79 percent. Formic acid and menthol have also been used to deter the mites, and bee queens that are especially fastidious about hive cleanliness—“neurotic,” as Ethel says—can also help to reduce the incidence of disease. Most important, however, is good nutrition, and this can be boosted by growing a variety of crops and plants for the bees to forage in, not huge swaths of monocrops.

Since bees provide an estimated $15 billion in services to agriculture, it pays to listen to bee experts about what to do to keep them healthy. And people are listening: the video has gotten almost 100,000 views in just two weeks!