Beekeepers in Dorchester County, S.C. discovered millions of dead bees this week after an aerial insecticide spraying intended to control mosquitoes.
Through their Facebook page, Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply in Summerville estimated a loss of 46 hives totaling about 2.5 million bees.
The Washington Post reports that Dorchester County sprayed the insecticide Naled via airplane on Sept. 28.
The United States began using Naled in 1959, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which notes that the chemical dissipates so quickly it is not a hazard to people. That said, human exposure to Naled during spraying “should not occur.”
In parts of South Carolina, trucks trailing pesticide clouds are not an unusual sight, thanks to a mosquito-control program that also includes destroying larvae. Given the current concerns of West Nile virus and Zika — there are several dozen cases of travel-related Zika in South Carolina, though the state health department reports no one has yet acquired the disease from a local mosquito bite — Dorchester decided to try something different Sunday.
A Change.org petition has been established calling for an abatement on aerial spraying, which states that citizens were only informed a few hours before the aerial spraying, giving them little time to prepare.
This is both disturbing and frightening to many that live in the area that is to be covered. There are live and privately owned beehives that are in this area and to the best of our knowledge, the chemicals to be used are toxic to honeybees (even if the spraying occurs while the hives are in a rest state at night). Additionally there is concern to the general population regarding the harmful side effects on pregnant women, children, those with health issues, as well as the environment.