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Hawaii participating in federal honey bee survey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced Hawaii and 12 other states will participate in a survey of honey bee pests and diseases.

Hawaii beekeepers have been battling destructive varroa mites and small hive beetles.

The department said yesterday that the survey will help scientists determine the prevalence of parasites and disease-causing microorganisms that may be contributing to the decline of honey bee colonies nationwide.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says bee health is critical for the success of pollination-based agriculture, which produces about a third of the U.S. diet.

He says there’s been a disturbing drop in the number of U.S. bee colonies over the last few years.

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