Bees in Hawaii
Iolani Palace had quite the scare with the recent bee infestation. The national historic landmark was shut down for nearly a week as beekeepers and pest control specialists did their best to save seven hives that were found. While devastating to Iolani Palace, the handling of the infestation by beekeepers and pest control specialists alike was a sincere example of how we all do our bests to protect bees. For, enough cannot be said about the importance of bees to our planet. Bees are an invaluable resource to plants, animals, and yes, to us humans as well. Here in Hawaii we are fortunate to have about 70 species of native bees as well as some additional 19 species that have been introduced over time. There are several things we can all do to support our bee populations.
First, grow plants, trees, and herbs that bees use for pollen, pollination, and homage. Grow a variety of plants so something is blooming all the time. Some plants here in Hawaii include maile, hibiscus, gardenia, and koa. There are many plants to attract the bees; check out the University of Hawaii’s long list of plants specific to each island. Orange, mango, and banana trees are great for bees too. How about adding some herbs to the garden? Thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, and mint are a few examples of herbs that attract bees.
Another way to support bees is by buying from local farmers. Here on Kauai there are farmer’s markets pretty much every day somewhere on the island. The same should be true for all the Hawaiian Islands. Supporting local farmers keeps them growing crops that help bees prosper.
Speaking of local farmers, buying local honey and beeswax also supports bee populations and beekeepers as well. It’s easy to pick up an off-brand of honey in the grocery store, but once you’ve tried fresh, homegrown honey, you will never buy an off-brand again. And, you’ve supported your local economy!
It’s important to our environment and our future to protect and support our bee populations. It’s also important to let bees be; they are never out to get us. If a beehive is discovered in a place it shouldn’t be (like Iolani Palace), please call a local beekeeper, the Hawaii Beekeepers’ Association (808-638-3309), or the Hawaii Bee Removal Hotline (808-492-0398).