A local beekeeper claims Duval County's mosquito spraying program is responsible for the death of his bee colony.
Tim Miller, a hobbyist beekeeper in San Marco, said his bee colony was killed on Monday, about an after the county came through with mosquito treatments in his area.
“It’s a catch 22, you know you don’t want anyone to get sick, you don’t want anyone to have Zika or problems with their babies or West Nile Virus, but you also don’t want to spray poison on everything and kill bees and butterflies and probably hummingbirds and everything else,” Miller said.
Miller's claims echo widespread concerns about the impacts of pesticides on bee populations. Beekeepers and environmental activists attribute the mass death of bees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), to pesticides.
Duval County does morning aerial sprayings for adult mosquitoes, which can carry dengue fever, malaria, Zika and other potentially deadly viruses. Additionally, truck foggings are typically done between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. In both cases, naled is the main component in the mosquito spray.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, naled is an effective insecticide that has been used in the United States since the late 1950s.
It’s also lethal to bees.
The EPA does say it “does not anticipate that bees will have a significant exposure to naled," but that "beekeepers can reduce exposure even more by covering colonies when spraying takes place, or if possible relocating colonies to an untreated site.” It also says that providing clean sources of food and clean drinking water during sprayings can further reduce exposure.
Large scale bee die-offs are a concern for beekeepers like Miller, but can also affect the growth of crops and other plants. Bees pollinate 70 of the nearly 100 different crops species that feed 90 percent of the world, according to BBC. Supermarkets would have half the amount of produce they do now, and we could struggle to sustain the world’s current population.
If you are looking to see if your area will be treated soon or has been treated recently, you can find all that information on COJ.net.
A group called the Pollinator Stewardship Council cites pesticides as leading to the mass death of bees as well. Anyone can report any bee kills due to pesticides by emailing the council. They recommend reporting bee kills to the the EPA as well.