Monday, 14 May 2012

Bill would protect bees


By COLIN M. STEWART
Tribune-Herald Staff Writer
The passage of a bill providing additional funding for the University of Hawaii at Hilo highlights the important role that the Big Island plays in the field of honey bee research.
House Bill 2100, introduced by state Rep. Clift Tsuji, D-South Hilo, Puna, and chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, passed its final reading on May 4 and was sent to the governor’s office on Monday, where it awaits his signature.
The measure provides a total of $30,000 for University of Hawaii bee research programs on Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai during the 2012-13 fiscal year. Half of that amount is targeted specifically at UH bee hive research on the Big Island.
In testimony provided to legislators in March, chairman of the state Board of Agriculture Russell Kokubun explained that Hawaii’s bee populations are currently under siege by a pair of pests that could have lasting impact on honey bees — and the many crops that are reliant on them for pollination.

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