Perhaps the intention wasn’t to annihilate 2.5 million bees in more than 46 hives, but South Carolina bee keepers blame recent aerial pesticide spraying aimed at Zika-carrying mosquitoes for a devastating fallout affecting one of our most precious pollinating insects.
Local officials sprayed the controversial pesticide Naled on a Sunday afternoon in Dorchester County, South Carolina, and shortly thereafter reports from beekeepers of Armageddon-like death followed. Kristina Solara Litzenberger said in a comment on Facebook, that visiting the apiary after the spraying “was like visiting a cemetery, pure sadness.”
Officials hardly gave notice to residents that they would be spraying. With only a Facebook post on Saturday and a newspaper announcement on Friday to alert locals of their intentions, an airplane traveled across the county early Sunday morning dispensing a mist of Naled. Many bee keepers, including Flowertown Bee Farm, had no idea that the spraying would occur.
Nita Mae recently posted the following concerning the horrible event:
“I sincerely appreciate all of the support from around the world. It is very important to me and Flower Town Bees that we turn this unfortunate situation into a teachable moment. I am NOT coming from a place of anger, and my wish is for all followers to be positive and kind. ~ Nita Mae
Juanita Stanley, another bee keeper, said of the incident:
“Honestly, I just fell to the ground. I was crying, and I couldn’t quit crying, and I was throwing up.”
Another resident said that all the bee keepers experienced complete silence as of Monday morning at their hives, following the spraying.
Residents of Florida had already voiced their concern over the use of the mosquito-repellent pesticide which is a known neurotoxin that is capable of causing developmental issues even in human beings – you can imagine what the chemical brew might do to a tiny bee’s body.
“To protect honeybees, the EPA suggests spraying Naled between dusk and dawn “while bees are not typically foraging.” But in Dorchester County, the spraying was conducted between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. County officials said they followed manufacturer instructions, which had recommended application “no more than two hours after sunrise” to minimize hazard to bees.
Juanita Stanley, co-owner of Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply in Summerville described the aftermath of the spraying as being nothing less than total devastation after reporting the loss of 46 hives and over 2.5 million bees.
“My bee yard looks like it’s been nuked,” Stanley told the Associated Press.
County officials seem less deeply affected by the mass bee deaths. County administrator Jason Ward said he was “not pleased that so many bees were killed.” He argued that the county had attempted to inform the public about the spraying through social media and the local press. Two-days notice is hardly effective notice. Perhaps county officials knew how outraged beekeepers would be if they had known what South Carolina had in store for their bees.
Image credit: Huffington Post
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