Interested in learning more about honey bees and the role of pollinators in Hawa'i? This presentation to the Hawaii Master Gardeners provides a brief overview of these topics and more, including pollinator gardening strategies for Hawai'i!
This presentation covers why and how introduced bees (including honey bees) are good, but also bad, in Hawaiian systems. While there is a lot of local support for pollinator conservation initiatives that are popular on the mainland, our island ecosystem is unique. The reality is nuanced: Bees may propagate hard-to-control invasive weeds, aid in pollination of endemic plant species whose native pollinators are in decline (such as ʻōhiʻa lehua and the I’iwi), and are important contributors to the agricultural economy. Economic contributions to pollination services, queen breeding, and honey production will be discussed.
Bees are attracted to specific cues provided by flowers, which include flower color and morphology. Certain flower types and shapes are meant to be pollinated by certain pollinators, though generalist foragers like honey bees will take advantage of any pollen and nectar resources that are available in abundant supply. This presentation covers the basics of how a plant’s pollinator can be predicted based on floral shape and color (pollination syndromes), as well as the biology of pollination. Bees collect nectar and pollen from flowers, and in so doing provide pollination services in a mutualistic relationship, which is crucial in agricultural production and the propagation of other plants. The pollination role played by other insect groups will also be discussed.
This presentation discusses the basics of the reproductive life cycle of honey bees and solitary bees, including how females decide whether to lay a male or female egg, what causes an egg to develop in to a queen, and the nutritional requirements essential for development. This will also include a description of the various tasks performed by worker bees (for example nurse, wax production, forager), and how a single bee transitions through these roles as her body continues to develop and mature.
Dr. Paul Krushelnycky provides an overview of Hawaii's yellow-faced bees, their distribution, and the status of current research projects in the state.
This video provides an overview of the very basics of beekeeping and gives a general understanding of beekeeping practices. This includes an overview of the parts of a hive, the tools used, and proper protective equipment. I will also discuss beekeeping ordinances at the state and county levels in Hawaii.
This video covers topics related to the reality of stinging insect venom allergies, and the proper medical response in the event of a sting emergency. There are many rumors in the main stream media regarding how honey bee products can be used in medicinal applications as well, though the reality does not always align with popular beliefs. I will discuss the value of honey in treating burns/wounds, coughs, reducing seasonal allergy symptoms, and as an alternative to sugar for diabetics, based upon the best available scientific data. Please note that this is intended for information purposes only, and not meant to replace advice you received from a trained medical professional. Always consult your doctor to make sure alternative therapies are safe options for you.
Many have heard about colony collapse disorder (CCD) in honey bees, though may be unware of what causes it. In this first section on pollinator declines, I will describe the pests, parasites, bacterial diseases, and viruses affecting honey bees in Hawaii, as well as their prevalence throughout the state. This will include Varroa destructor, small hive beetles, wax moths, cane toads, American foulbrood, chalkbrood, and deformed wing virus.
This presentation reviews the effects of pesticides on honey bees, with a specific emphasis on neonicotinoids and weed killers. General information is provided on the relative safety of organic and conventional pesticides commercially available to home owners in Hawaii, with an emphasis on pesticide label safety. In most cases it matters less what you use, and more that the product is used following the label to reduce nontarget effects on bees and other wildlife.
The final presentation in this series discusses the effects of nutrition on pollinator health, and aspects of pollen and honey constituents that are important in immunity (fats, protein, amino acids, p-coumaric acid). While this may seem technical, I will relate important immune pathways for bees to those in humans for perspective. Human caused changes to the environment (monocultures, urban landscaping with no value to pollinators, weed removal along roadsides and in agricultural areas) will be discussed.
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