Video by David Corrigan, voice of Tim Bryan

In crisis mode, Big Island Beekeepers packed the Komohana Research and Extension Center in Hilo this week to discuss the invasive pests threatening their industry.

President Antonie Botes led the discussion on the newly discovered “small hive beetle” which is cause for new alarm in Hawaii hives.

Beekeepers passed around samples of the pests, which have already been found from Panaewa to Hawaiian Acres.

Once inside hives, the SHB, as they are called, tunnels through the honeycomb in search of honey, wax or bee larvae, destroying the hive and contaminating the honey as it does so. Bee colonies are known to abandon the hive when infestations grow heavy.

Botes tried to offer some management ideas for infected hive owners.

The Big Island is still reeling from the onset of the varroa mite, a different honeybee pest that first found on the island less than two years ago.