Bees and honey from a healthy, varroa-free hive in Santa Rita, Guam, Photo: Olympia Terral
Most of us would probably choose to avoid wild bee colonies, having heard about or experienced the painful stings the colony inhabitants can dish out to trespassers. Not so the researchers at the College of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Guam.
The hardy researchers at UOG want the address of wild bee colonies on the island and they are looking to the public for help.
Chris Rosario, a research associate with the Western Pacific Tropical Research Center, has been surveying bees on Guam and in the region. Funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Honeybee National Survey has been extended for another year. Rosario’s research will help Guam in its efforts to have Guam declared varroa-free in the future.
Varroa is a variety of parasitic mites associated with honey bees, placed in its own family, Varroidae. The condition of a honeybee colony being infested with Varroa mites is called varroosis.
Rosario would like assistance from the public in locating wild (feral) bee colonies on Guam, especially if they are causing a problem for neighborhoods or homeowners. He would like to remove the problem bees and give them a new home in a hive. When removed from the site they will be placed at UOG experiment stations and will support ongoing research.
“The more we are able to relocate feral hives and place them at farms and research stations around the island, the more we will be able to promote Guam’s fledging bee keeping industry,” said Rosario.
At this time, Guam bees are still testing negative for the varroa mite. With continued sampling of Guam bees and if bees continuously test negative for the mite, Guam may qualify for varroa-free status, opening the door to the possibility of Guam beekeepers providing queen bees, certified to be free of the damaging mite, to stateside beekeepers.
Individuals, government entities, and private businesses are welcome to contact Rosario regarding domestic or feral bees at 487-1640, 735-2068 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about bees, please click on the hive.