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Published: Sun, September 04, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Collateral Damage: Bees die in South Carolina Zika spraying

Collateral Damage: Bees die in South Carolina Zika spraying

Beekeepers in Dorchester County, South Carolina, saw 48 of their hives killed off on 28 August.

Other pesticides that kill adult mosquitoes - known as adulticides - are no safer for bees, says Latham. The few surviving bees tended to their fallen.

Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner at Friends of the Earth, observed in an email to Common Dreams that "widespread pesticide use has led to unintended consequences in the past, and has great potential to damage both public health and the environment".

Bees across SC are dying by the truckload as the state attempts to control mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.

But on Sunday morning, from 6:30 a.m.to 8:30 a.m., as the county conducted aerial spraying, the bees fell by the millions.

"Due to this high temperature there are literally thousands upon thousands of bees hanging off the outside of the hive", he said.

The Summerville fire captain was at work when he spotted the plane flying over. All three also keep databases of beekeepers to notify before spraying.

"My wife called a short time after the flyover and said, 'We have a mass killing, ' " he said.

Flowertown co-owner and registered beekeeper Juanita Stanley said she receives notifications when mosquito sprays are planned. The dead worker bees littering the farms suggested that colony collapse disorder was not the culprit - in that odd phenomenon, workers vanish as though raptured, leaving a living queen and young bees behind.

Stanley said she now needs to destroy the hives, the honey and her equipment following the insecticide contamination. The pesticide used in Dorchester County, Naled, is toxic to bees, reports the Washington Post. "To minimize hazard to bees, it is recommended that the product is not applied more than two hours after sunrise or two hours before sunset, limiting application to times when bees are least active".

For more information on the mosquito truck spraying schedule, visit the county website at www.dorchestercounty.net. "How unhealthy it is to aerial spray a pesticide".

Another local beekeeper, Andrew J Macke, called aerial spraying "carpet bombing" and said lately it had been hard to protect the bees because of the hot weather (which hit 92°F).

The heat of summer meant the bees would have been assembling outside of their hives in an effort to stay cool that warm Sunday morning. "It's about saving the bees", she said.

" ' "Do it at night when bees are done foraging", I would have told them, ' she added, breaking into tears".

Death came suddenly to Dorchester County, S.C. Stressed insects tried to flee their nests, only to surrender in little clumps at hive entrances. Sunday's unfortunate honeybee-killing incident was the first time spraying had been done from the air, officials said.

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