Honeybees Die by the Millions After Mass Mosquito Spray

In attempts to control mosquito populations that have the potential to spread Zika virus, mass applications of pesticides from trucks and airplanes have also devastated honeybee populations in the same areas, resulting in mass deaths of the bees.

In South Carolina, one couple, owners of Flowerton Bee Farm and Supply in Summerville, are sounding an alarm of caution after their 46 honeybee hives, home to more than three million bees, were sprayed with pesticide intended to kill the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species of mosquitoes.

The aerial spraying caused the almost immediate deaths of all the honeybees on Sunday, August 28, 2016. Hobbyists nor professional beekeepers were alerted ahead of time to the planned spraying from the sky, although earlier spraying down from trucks had come with pre-notifications.

Related Reading: The Global Disappearing Act of the Bees — Why Now?

Dorchester County, in which Summerville, South Carolina is located, is responsible for the pesticide applications in the area. County Administrator Jason Ward said county employees are responsible to follow the Trumpet product’s manufacturer’s instructions for the safest pesticide application, including application methods that will result in the least amount of harm to bees. As such, pesticide spraying is limited to not being done for two hours after sunrise or two hours before sunset.

Juanita Stanley, co-owner of Flowerton Bee Farm and Supply, said the spraying on that Sunday morning occurred at 8 a.m., when her bees were active and foraging for food. Stanley explained that if the aerial pesticide spraying were done after dark, her honeybees and bees in general would have been in their hives.

Stanley, who will now have to remove all her hives because they have been contaminated with pesticide and are full of maggots feasting on the honey and baby bees within those hives, expressed hope that from this tragedy will come better efforts to consider the health and safety of all living things in future plans.

The health and safety of people is of utmost concern; no one is disputing the value of diminishing mosquito populations to reduce the spread of Zika virus, but to do so at the threat of destroying bees, vital to the food chain, is counter-productive and will only creative even bigger issues in the future.

 


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2 Comments

  1. Lin Jenkinson
    • Deb Jones

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