Lorna Tsutsumi, Professor of Entomology

Above, Varroa mite feeds on a developing worker bee.

Professor Tsutsumi specializes in honey bees in Hawai‘i. She runs the apiary at the UH Hilo Farm Laboratory and produces practical knowledge and scientific literature about honey bees that benefit local beekeepers.

Lorna Tsutsumi, professor of entomology at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, has research interests in mosquito control in hydroponic systems and in bee activity.

Tsutsumi is presently focusing her scholarly activity on honey bees, from hive to market to table. Her contributions provide practical information for the general public and more detailed scientific literature that lends itself to application. This is especially important on Hawai‘i Island where bees are under serious attack from two major predators, the varroa mite and the small hive beetle.


A contribution of Tsutsumi to the literature is a refereed chapter co-authored with Darcy Oishi, “Agroforestry Farm and Forest Production and Marketing Profile: Honey bees,” published in Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands (2011, pp 29).

Lorna Tsutsumi
Lorna Tsutsumi

In the foreword to the book, written by R.R. Thaman, he says, “Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands provides extremely useful and detailed information for the agricultural scientist, the agricultural extension agent or consultant promoting sustainable agriculture options, and practicing farmers and horticulturists who wish, as they always have, to adopt new crops or varieties that they see as being useful to them in the long run.”

Editor Craig R. Elveitch writes in the preface that the crops covered in the book were selected through response by farmers in the Pacific for crops that they considered to be economically, ecologically, and culturally sustainable.

“I am very pleased that honey and honey bees were considered as very important to sustainability in the Pacific and were included in this book,” says Tsutsumi.

Much of Tsutsumi’s published work about bees is easily accessible to the public, for free. She has authored “The What and How of Beekeeping in Hawai‘i” (2003), “Queen rearing in East Hawai‘i” (2000, J. Hawaii. Pac. Agric. 11:45-50), and “A history of honey bees in the Hawaiian islands” (1997). Online publications geared toward her teaching include “Beekeeping Adventures: What I learned as A UHH beeping student,” “Beekeeping Equipment,” and “Protective Clothing.”

 UH Hilo Bee Garden

Students in white bee suits and head netting inspecting bee boxes in field.
Students have hands-on experience in beekeeping under the tutelage of Professor Lorna Tsutsumi at the UH Hilo Farm Lab.

Marketing and public awareness

In addition to her research and teaching on beekeeping, Tsutsumi also works on products and marketing for Lava Bee Products, made from the honey and wax extracted and processed from the UH Hilo Farm apiary. The website also includes delicious recipes and crafts.

In 2011, Tsutsumi teamed up with longtime friend  and former UH classmate, Chef Alan Wong, to launch the Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong program to raise awareness of the critical plight of honey bees and to promote local solutions to sustaining the local honey bee industry. In the program, members of the public can adopt a beehive at UH Hilo’s Farm lab to support research and development of healthy beehive practices in Hawai‘i.


In 2012, Tsutsumi received the Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi Award for Excellence and Innovation, an annual award recognizing creativity in teaching, scholarship and artistic production at UH Hilo. In 2010, she was the recipient of the UH Hilo Chancellor’s Pūlama ‘Ike Award, presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to developing and promoting the mission and spirit of UH Hilo.


Prof. Tsutsumi received her bachelor of science, master of science, and doctor of philosophy from UH Mānoa.



By Susan Enright, public information specialist, Office of the Chancellor. 

Published April 16, 2012; updated Aug. 8, 2018.