Honey bee study to determine if they are disease free - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Honey bee study to determine if they are disease free

by Jolene Toves

Guam - Findings of a honey bee study could lead to a lucrative export and breeding business.

Although not native to Guam honey bees have been on island for over a hundred years and have become an important component in Guam's ecological system but they may be able to benefit the island's economy as well. Just months into the study of honey bees on island the University of Guam's entomologist Ross Miller has set out to determine whether or not our bees may be a worth more than just honey.

"Because of the prevalence of disease and damaging insects elsewhere if we can show that Guam is disease and pest free then if somebody want to start up a business of exporting bees either Queen bees or actually exporting workers they could be certified disease free and that could open up markets to them."

According to Miller honey bees are in dramatic decline worldwide but there is no answer as to why and his study seeks to help answer that question and also determine if Guam has the same diseases that are present in North America and Hawaii.  "This study is part of a national us honey bee survey that's conducted throughout the North America and Hawaii to look at the incidence of diseases and predatory insects and mites on honey bees," he said.

While his first observation indicates that honey bees are disease free it is still too soon to make the declaration. "Thus far we don't think we do we are still in the process of locating hives both wild hives and domestic hives collecting bees and sending them off so we don't have the data back yet on it to say one way or the other," he said.

For now more honey bee samples need to be collected from over a dozen known feral hives and private bee keepers. However, miller says that there is no reason why an entrepreneur couldn't start a very lucrative business breeding honey bees.  

We should note that if you have a honey bee hive on your property you can contact the University of Guam's Biological Control Lab at 735-2068.

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