- Associated Press - Friday, March 17, 2017

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - State officials say Kauai’s honeybee population is strong and healthy.

The Hawaii Board of Agriculture has declared the island’s bee population strong after studying factors like year-round forging and a high level of honey production, The Garden Island reported (https://bit.ly/2nh24qW ).

“Kauai has some of the healthiest bees in the world. That’s the conclusion of our apiary specialist,” Board of Agriculture Chairman Scott Enright said while addressing the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee on Wednesday.

The state’s Bee Pollen Study was completed last year, and a report is expected to be released soon. The specific findings are confidential because beekeepers were worried they would lose business.

“We will get a final report, which will contain the general condition of the bees and beehives, the general location of where they tested and no beekeeper names will be part of the final report,” Enright said.

The agency conducted a bee pollen study in 2014 after the Kauai County Council passed a resolution to establish a grant within the Office of Economic Development that allowed beekeepers to test pollen for the presence of pesticides and other threats.

“There was community concern about agriculture pesticide use, specifically on the west side of Kauai, and whether bees were being adversely effected by those practices and were being killed off,” Enright said. “This study shows this is not the case.”

Enright said some pest control products were found in most samples, but not in high concentrations.

“They’re not high concentrations, but that’s what we’re finding,” he said. “The pesticide branch, the state Department of Health toxicologist, all took a look at this. They’re not concerned about the levels, but understanding the pathways would be interesting.”

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Information from: The Garden Island, https://thegardenisland.com/

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