South Carolina Accidentally Kills Millions Of Honeybees While Targeting Zika Virus

“My bee yard looks like it’s been nuked,” says one apiary owner.

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Credit: IFLScience.com

An attempt to wipe out mosquitos carrying the Zika virus in South Carolina turned into a deadly affair for honeybees. The morning after planes sprayed tracts of land in the southern U.S. state with an insecticide, millions of honeybees were found dead by their keepers.

One apiary owner, Juanita Stanley, told the press that she was absolutely wrecked upon finding clumps of dead honeybees on her property. She said:

“There was no need for a bee suit Monday morning to go down there, because there was no activity. It was silent. Honestly, I just fell to the ground. I was crying, and I couldn’t quit crying, and I was throwing up.”

Juanita’s farm lost approximately 2.3 million bees from 46 hives.

“My bee yard looks like it’s been nuked,” she added.

According to The Post and Courier, the controversial decision to spray insecticides to eradicate mosquitos carrying the Zika virus was made after four cases of travel-related Zika were confirmed in Dorchester County. Though chemicals are often sprayed to control pests in many locations across the U.S., this is the first time the county sprayed insecticides from planes. In effect, many areas were vastly underprepared.

Furthermore, planes sprayed the insecticides between the hours of 6:30am and 8:30 am, a time when bees are likely to be out of the hives foraging. Normally, the county sprays between the hours of 9pm and 5am, when honeybees are more likely to be safe inside their hives.

County Administrator Jason Ward addressed the public on Tuesday, saying:

“Dorchester County is aware that some beekeepers in the area that was sprayed on Sunday lost their beehives. I am not pleased that so many bees were killed.”

Though authorities are right to be concerned about the spread of the Zika virus, the decision to spray insecticides from planes – and a time when the bumbling insects are often out foraging, was obviously an unintelligent one. Officials are now warning for more consideration to take place before launching initiatives to mitigate the Zika virus concern. After all, if honeybees go extinct, the planet will never be the same. 

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