Professional beekeeper Harald Singer, from the Department of Integrative Zoology at the University of Vienna, gave a talk on “Interactions between honeybees and Varroa mites influenced by cell sizes and hygienic behavior.”

Harold Singer with group who came to hear him speak.
Harald Singer (center with lei) came to UH Hilo to give a talk on beekeeping and Varroa mites.

Professional beekeeper Harald Singer, from the Department of Integrative Zoology at the University of Vienna, recently gave a presentation at the University of Hawaii at Hilo on “Interactions between honeybees and Varroa mites influenced by cell sizes and hygienic behavior.” Singer specializes in small breeding cells in honeybees and ways to overcome the Varroa crises.

In attendance were UH Hilo students, staff, faculty and community beekeepers and representatives from the apiary program of the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.

Singer is a professional beekeeper, bee inspector for the Styrian state government, president of the European Beekeeper Association, and a member of the Professional Beekeeping Association of Austria. He comes from a family of beekeepers and has taught beekeeping professionally.

This article was originally published in the Feb 2018 CAFNRM/Agriculture Club Newsletter.

Harald Singer specializes in small breeding cells in honeybees and ways to overcome the Varroa crises.

Harald Singer holds up a honeycomb while standing next to beeboxes.
Harald Singer

SPEAKER: Harald Singer from the University of Vienna, Department of Integrative Zoology.
TITLE OF PRESENTATION: Interactions between honeybees and Varroa mites influenced by cell sizes and hygienic behavior.
DATE: Feb. 12, 2018.
TIME: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
PLACE: University Classroom Building, room 127, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (campus map).

A primary concern brought about by this weed is its ability to rapidly spread and its danger to livestock, if ingested.

By Damon Adamson.

Fire weed, yellow flowers

One of more than 1200 species of Senecio globally, Senecio madagascariensis, fireweed, or Madagascar ragwort is of specific concern to Hawai‘i. Having been established in Hawai‘i in the early 1980s, it has continued to climb the chain as an invasive, dangerous, and noxious weed.

S. madagascariensis, an upright, branched mostly annual herb, growing from seed, that generally grows to heights between four and 24 inches tall. Its narrow, bright-green, alternating leaves can reach two to five inches in length and one-quarter inch across, often lobed and can demonstrate a smooth or serrated edge. The inflorescence is terminal and comprised of both disc and ray florets. Dull to bright yellow in appearance, similar to a common daisy, mostly displaying a 13-patterned ray floret count. Additionally, each type of floret, disc and ray, produce seed.

Domesticated animal injuries and the widespread suffocation of native plants throughout the Hawaiian islands is often the result if the Yellow Himalayan Raspberry is left unchecked.

By Damon Adamson.

Yellow Himalayan Raspberry flower, leaves, start beside a rock.
Yellow Himalayan Raspberry

Native to the continent of Asia and surrounding islands (Tropical China, India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippine Islands), the Yellow Himalayan Raspberry (Rubus ellipticus) was introduced to Hawaiʻi in 1960 for its edible fruit and ornamental purposes, but rapidly escaped cultivation in 1961 and is now thoroughly documented on the island of Hawaiʻi. At present, the greatest infestation on Hawaiʻi is centered in the Volcano community adjacent to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and many mid-elevation forests (1060-1200 m).

Though Aceria hibisci can feed on a wide variety of hibiscus plants, it seems to demonstrate a preference for the Chinese red hibiscus (Hibiscus rosasinensis L.)

By Damon Adamson.

Hibiscus Leaf-Crumbling Mite under microscope and lumpy leaves disfigured from invasion.
Leaf damage (left) and Hibiscus Leaf-Crumbling Mite.

Often going unnoticed until the telltale bump-like clusters form on hibiscus leaves, the Hibiscus Leaf-Crumbling Mite or Aceria hibisci, is small enough to escape most human visibility. The unsightly growth or galls are the results of feeding Aceria hibisci, otherwise known in Hawai’i as the Hibiscus Erineum Mite or just the Hibiscus Mite.

First identified in Hawai’i in 1989 on the island of Oahu. Now the microscopic mite can be found on most of the Hawaiian islands and other Pacific areas, like Fiji, the Cook Islands, New South Wales, Australia in 1992, and Brazil.

The threat of Tropical Nut Borer in Hawai‘i creates a significant threshold on macadamia nut production and proceeds.

By Damon Adamson.

Tropical Nut Borer and damaged nut
Tropical Nut Borer and damaged nut

The Tropical Nut Borer (TNB), Hypothenemus obscurus (Coleoptera: Scolytidae), was first identified in Hawai‘i—North Kona specifically—in 1988, with consequential studies conducted in the early 1990s. Initial studies determined TNB only affected Western Hawai‘i Island and with no other reports from Maui, O‘ahu, or Kaua‘i.

But within just a few years, TNB was found on all islands throughout the state, creating a significant threshold on macadamia nut production and proceeds. University of Hawai‘i studies conducted in the 1990s suggest a larger impact on orchards within dryer climates versus consistently wetter areas.

There are over 4,000 species of aphids and they often travel by wind or as a stow away on other plants and animals.

By Malaika Ross.

A cluster of dark aphids on a green leaf.
Aphids. Photo by Tricia Hogbin.

While working with my Sustainable Agriculture team on our garden plot, we encountered small black insects, which clustered on the leaves of the garden’s citrus plant. With a little investigative work we learned our citrus tree was experiencing an aphid (Aphidoidea) infestation. Since no one in the group had encountered aphids outside of our weekly gardening sessions, we were hoping aphids would be benign, but we quickly learned aphids cause substantial damage to plants.

BRF tek is a fast method of growing your own mushrooms, with the whole process taking just two to three months.

By Matthew Roderick.

Book cover "Mushrooms," with photo of mushrooms.
Mushrooms: Cultivation, Nutritional Value, Medicinal Effect, and Environmental Impact (2004) by Philip G. Miles and Shu-Ting Chang is a good source for information on growing your own edible mushrooms.

Mushroom cultivation at home may be simpler than you think. As a hobby, for profit, or as a viable means for developing food security, growing mushrooms has become an increasingly popular practice for those who enjoy the healthy and flavorful benefits of mushrooms. These would be edible varieties such as shiitake, portobello, oyster, lions mane, and pioppino, to name just a few.

Mushrooms have been renowned for thousands of years for their therapeutic effects, medicinal nature, and highly nutritious quality. In addition to containing a good source of protein, many mushrooms, especially gourmet varieties, are shown to have antiviral, anticancer, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as immune strengthening and cardio protective  compounds.

Management options should be carefully considered since some treatments have the potential to be more damaging than the pests themselves.

By Noel Dickinson, BS in Agriculture, UH Hilo, 2014.

Vegetable Leafminer: Liriomyza sativae (Blanchard)

Adult vegetable leafminer, yellow bug on green foliage.
Adult vegetable leafminer, Liriomyza sativae (Blanchard). Photo by Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida.

We’ve all seen them, white trails meandering across leaves in your  garden. Most of us know leafminers are the culprits, but what is a leafminer? When these trails are observed they are usually empty, as if they’ve been traced by some phantom pest.

In mid-September, I observed what I believed to be leafminer damage on the foliage of hydroponic tomato plants in the hydroponic greenhouse, at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Farm Laboratory in Panaewa. I came to the immediate conclusion that the damage was done by leafminers because of the conspicuous grey, serpentine lines on the leaves of the plants, a symptom specific to all leafminer species.