LETTER: Are Backyard Beekeepers Killing the Bees?

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In Hawaii, beekeeping is a big business. Hawaii exports roughly $10 million in queen bees a year and is the home of one of the country’s largest, and one of the few, organic honey companies.

So why are backyard beekeepers hurting the bees? After all, more beekeepers equals more bees and more bees is a good thing, right?

The problem is that in the first few years, most new beekeepers make a lot of mistakes. Now, with the flow hive promising sweet honey flowing out of a tap, everyone wants to try their hand at beekeeping. Without proper training, these new beekeepers’ hives are breeding grounds for pests and diseases like foulbrood, where the beekeeper has to burn the beehive and all the equipment. In just a week, varroa mites and small hive beetles can kill a hive.

I am a commercial beekeeper on the big island. I started beekeeping classes at our farm last year to help wanna-be beekeepers learn how to keep healthy hives. Our classes were so popular that we’re now starting online beekeeping classes with videos, real time webinars and a beekeeper mentoring program. We have a kickstarter campaign currently going on to raise money & awareness for these classes. You can watch the video and learn more about the campaign at http://kck.st/2uMKbme

Laryssa Kwoczak, Kona

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