Navigate / search

When poison falls from the sky

Every now and then I decide to bury my head in the sand and pretend I don’t notice the headlines. Invariably, this approach doesn’t work because dozens of people will ask my opinion until I’m more or less coerced into saying something. Then, the something I say is dissected, splintered, and ridiculed until, once again, I think deep sand is the best alternative.

So, caution aside, what do I think about wholesale spraying for zika virus? Well, as someone who cares deeply about our environment, it almost goes without saying.

Was the use for the greater good?

First, let me clarify that I am not completely against pesticides. I believe pesticides have legitimate uses and are necessary in certain situations. What I am strongly against is improper use of any pesticide, whether it is designed for insects, weeds, fungus, or arachnids. In my opinion, the South Carolina case was an improper use. It clearly demonstrated what happens when politicians are allowed to make decisions about biological systems.

The situation is not unique. Time and again I’ve seen doctors adjust medical care based on a patient’s insurance coverage. The insurance coverage is based on statistics and government guidelines. So even if your doctor thinks you should have a certain test once a year, if the guidelines say once every two years, the insurance won’t pay and the doctors won’t prescribe. So who is deciding your health care? Not you. Not your doctor. Nope. It’s the government. Some politician who never met you is deciding your fate.

Just doing their jobs

I’m absolutely sure the South Carolina decision makers were not malicious. Most likely they actually believe that the aerial spraying of mosquitoes to prevent the spread of zika was in the public interest. But I’m not convinced. I’m willing to bet that at least some of those people have no idea what an ecosystem is, yet they are perfectly willing to destroy one to protect a minority of people who may or may not come down with the zika virus.

I’m not belittling the heartbreak and devastation of the disease. It is treacherous, scary, and sad. What I am questioning is the method of control. Any time we fool with an ecosystem, it becomes easier and easier for diseases like this to reappear. That’s because a spray like Naled affects not just the target mosquito, but things that eat those mosquitoes. Creatures like toads, frogs, snakes, birds, fish, spiders, and other insects all eat mosquitoes and keep their numbers in check. An insecticide like Naled is harmful or fatal to some of those creatures. For others, it destroys their food supply until they perish from starvation.

History is fated to repeat itself, and we know from past experience that wholesale killing usually results in an unbalanced ecosystem where the “bad guy” is more likely to proliferate in the future. Once sprayed, an ecosystem may never recover. In a balanced system all organisms keep the others in check as each species competes for natural resources. In a balanced ecosystem, there wouldn’t be enough mosquitoes to provide a rapid conduit for human disease. We see rampant disease in places where humans have destroyed the natural system of checks and balances.

When poison falls from the sky

Whenever the issue of wholesale spraying comes up I think of Silent Spring. In her book, Rachel Carson says humans have a right to be free from poison dropped from the skies. She says the only reason it is not specifically stated in the Bill of Rights is that the authors could not have conceived of such a thing.

Aerial spraying is particularly pernicious because it affects so many aspects of our lives. I’ve heard people say, “It’s just a few beekeepers. So what?” But the damage is much greater. The bug eaters I mentioned are injured or killed, as well as the pollinators, including hundreds of species of native bees, moths, and butterflies. The entire line-up of beneficial insects such as ladybugs and mantids are killed as well, as are innocent fish, amphibians, and birds.

It’s about people too

And how about people? How about the conscientious mom who decided to raise organic vegetables for her family? The retired folks who built pollinator habitat so they could watch and enjoy and pollinate their crops? How about the household pet who had poison rain down on its fur and the children who give it a big bear hug? Do the parents even realize their kids may have Naled on their fingers? The ones they stick in their mouths?

When you spray from the sky you hit gardens, ponds, swimming pools, swing sets, picnic tables, and laundry left on the line. You hit the fruit on the tree, the berries on the vines, the porch rail, and the car door. You hit the tricycle on the driveway, the trampoline in the back yard, and the baseball bat. Is anyone thinking about these possibilities?

Safe for humans?

The politicians say Naled is safe for humans. What does that mean?  A quick look at Extoxnet shows “Naled is highly to moderately toxic to birds…Naled is toxic to most types of aquatic life…Naled is toxic to bees.” And for humans? Extoxnet shows “Naled is moderately to highly toxic by ingestion, inhalation and dermal adsorption. Vapors or fumes of Naled are corrosive to the mucous membranes lining the mouth, throat and lungs, and inhalation may cause severe irritation. A sensation of tightness in the chest and coughing are commonly experienced after inhalation. As with all organophosphates, Naled is readily absorbed through the skin. Skin which has come in contact with this material should be washed immediately with soap and water and all contaminated clothing should be removed.”  And there is much, much more.

Of course I don’t know the particulars of Dorchester County, South Carolina. Perhaps, all things considered, it was the best choice for this county at this time. But my bet is that all things were not considered. If the beekeepers didn’t see it coming, imagine all the other residents who were caught unaware. All those who didn’t prepare. All those who didn’t bring in their pets or clean their picnic tables.

So what instead?

No matter what decision is reached, we need to remember Silent Spring. A decision with so much fallout needs to be a community decision and not a behind-the-desk decision, and all those affected need to be warned in advance and told how to prepare. Anything else is just plain wrong.

Rusty
Honey Bee Suite

Comments

DARLENE
Reply

Well said . . .
Thank you

Bill
Reply

Rusty,

To what little reading I’ve about Naled, which I pronounced as Nailed, one of the known human affect is shrunken brain syndrome. So, which is the real cause of this disease? I am not a fan of any chemical that are sprayed or dumped into our food supply and the environment that we live. Mainly because there is too much money behind them and too little accurate information being released in a readable format.

Joe Vaughn
Reply

I live and keep bees in upstate SC (Pickens County) and have many beekeeping friends in the lower part of the state. I feel like you’ve hit the nail on the head, so to speak. Being made aware of the situation at hand and at least being given the chance to try and take some sort of preventive measure, would be a nice step forward. It continually seems that the small scale operation, 1-20 hives, gets left out of the loop regardless. Here in the upstate the concern for the Zika virus is not near as great as in the low country. But it begs the question “what’s next”. Glyphosate in honey!!! Thanks for pulling your head out of the sand. Keep up the good work young lady!
Joe Vaughn

AnubisBard
Reply

One thing that I’ve noticed in gardening is that when you use pesticides you kill off your allies in the natural world. And it’s a fact of nature that the prey comes back faster than the predators, which means you are either worse off than you were before – or you’re locked into a cycle of chemical use that not only destroys an eco-system, but is doomed to fail in the end. The spraying in SC is what happens when people feel so strongly that they need to do something, they end up shooting themselves in the foot.

Bianca
Reply

Hi Rusty, thanks so much for your comments and insights. As a person with a small urban homestead and four hives in Miami I can honestly say, I am pretty horrified with this situation. There have been several aerial sprayings over Miami Beach as well as another neighborhood, and as a result, I have seen pictures of thousands of dead bees on the sidewalks of Miami Beach. According to one account, there are no bees, no butterflies, no birds and no dragonflies, yet mosquitos are still going strong. I believe bombarding citizens with a toxic substance is a gross overreaction to the threat Zika actually poses. From what I understand it’s been around for decades and most people who get it will hardly notice. Despite large protests in Miami, the spraying continues and my question is this, how do I best protect my colonies in the event of spraying in my neighborhood? It makes me sick to my stomach to think that they might be hurt by this. One of the local inspectors suggested covering the hive with a sheet. What is your opinion on this?
Thank you,
Bianca

Rusty
Reply

Bianca,

If you can’t move the bees out of the area, I would lock them up the night before the spray date. Then cover the hives with a wet sheet, if you can. The wet sheet helps to trap the poison so it doesn’t float into the hive. The evaporation also helps to keep the hives cool. I think that would be the worst part in Miami: keeping the bees cool enough so they don’t roast inside the hive. Some of the chemicals break down fairly fast, but if you could keep them in all day, I think that would be your best shot. Shade would really help, depending on how hot it gets.

Anthony
Reply

You Hit The Nail on the head Rusty, As always!!! 🙂

Myrna Warren
Reply

It would be much safer if people used Off or such products when they go outdoors during mosquito season rather than using overall sprays that kill so many things. Since it is possibly toxic to humans, it might cause more damage to more people than the zika might cause. Wish lots of area newspapers carried this article.

Bill
Reply

As a new beekeeper, I have to say that reading about the complete and utter Scr**Up in S Carolina is disheartening to say the least. The follow-up reports I saw indicated that someone didn’t bother to read and follow the protocols they supposedly had in place i.e don’t spray during the early morning hours (8-10ish) and avoid the areas with high concentrations of honeybees, not to mention LET THE BEEKEEPERS KNOW YOU”RE ABOUT TO SPRAY!!!!!
That said, every point you made is right on the money…down to politicians driving the healthcare bus and (of course) the environmental bus as well. Lets have a huge knee-jerk reaction to the presence of a VERY FEW mosquitos carrying the Zika virus and wipe out an entire ecosystem in response to it!!
I’m enjoying your blog and finding the tips helpful. Keep up the good work!!

Bill

Rusty
Reply

Thanks, Bill.

JoAnne
Reply

Amen, Rusty!

I’ve already been blasted by a scientist (who pulled the “I am an expert and you are not”) when I suggested Bti to control the mosquito larvae (which is what they currently use in Minnesota) might be more effective, and more friendly to the ecosystem than aerial spraying of Naled (which will have to be resprayed when the current larvae hatch, if the decision makers in North Carolina continue their ill considered attempt at extermination). Since no mosquitoes in that county actually had the virus (all the Zika cases there were travel related) it would make even more sense for those few people to protect the mosquitoes against biting them until they were no longer infected with Zika, which in turn would protect all the rest of the people against an infected mosquito).

I have also read that the microcephaly was not actually been proven to be caused by mosquito bites, rather it is believed to be caused by the pesticides used to try to control the mosquitoes. Microcephaly was found in the countries using those pesticides, but not in the neighboring countries that didn’t use them with the same Zika load. I don’t recall the source of this info, but I remember thinking it was a credible source when I read it.

So many people say, “It’s only a few beekeepers that were impacted, so no big deal. They just have to move, cover or kept their bees inside.” But who is moving, covering, or keeping inside all the native bees and other pollinators so they are not exposed? We can count the number of honey bee colonies that were killed in North Carolina, but we can’t begin to know the larger effect to the ecosystem.

Thanks for speaking out in a voice of reason on this issue.

JoAnne
Reply

Oops, South Carolina!

Tom
Reply

I lived in So. Cal. when they were spraying for fruit flies and it was not pleasant to have brown mist coming out of the sky whether or not you object. We also did not want the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant upwind from us. The solution was to move elsewhere, Now in Washington state we can protest the NoDak oil trains and try to stop them before they cause the next disaster. Think globally, act locally.

TERRY
Reply

rusty
would you give some advice on oxalic/treatment for varroa mites i have a oxalic/acid battery operated unit but have never used one, my friends and i have about (8) hives , and one of them is infected as they are visible in the hive we were if it was possible to treat them now,, date –9-18-2016 we live in north -west Washington—-port Angeles 98362

read all your comments— There really good
were new Bee folks—–1 year

Rusty
Reply

Terry,

I would look at how much brood you have. If there isn’t a lot (and often there is not at this time of year) you could treat once now (which will substantially reduce the mite population) and then treat again in late December/early January. Or, if you have a substantial amount of brood, you could treat three time now (one week apart) and then skip the end of year treatment.

Sharon Klemm
Reply

Those who forget their history are destined to repeat it. DDT, so too Naked. We have forgotten that we nearly lost our national bird bc of a dangerous pesticide. Now wholesale aerial spraying of this stuff in the face of varroa, CCD, and a host of other problems facing an insect responsible for at least 33% of our food supply. How stupid can we get. Further, the politicians, who remain profoundly ignorant of issues they support, should NOT be in this particular decision making loop. If they think Zika is a problem, wholesale collapse of the ecosystem will be beyond their worst nightmare. Thanks for this on target, thoughtful, and insightful post. Consider sharing it with your local newspaper and representative. We all need to speak up as you did, Rusty. Thank you.

Audrey
Reply

I keep bees in Ohio but have a home in Charleston, SC where they have had countywide spraying for mosquitos for several years. Our notification system tells us they will be spraying during a given calendar week during daylight hours. How can any beekeeper prepare for that? Gone from the island are the hundreds of beautiful golden orb weaver spiders. I haven’t seen one in years. There are far fewer anoles, fewer bats, fewer swallows, but I seem to still get plenty of mosquito bites.

Rusty
Reply

Audrey,

That is so sad. Heartbreaking. There will be nothing left for future generations to marvel over except our stupidity.

Daniel Pepper
Reply

Rusty,
You write so well.

Thank you.

Bill
Reply

Based on what the other Bill said above regarding the effects of Naled ie causing “shrunken brain syndrome” – one is inclined to think most of the politicians involved have already contracted this syndrome even without direct Naled contact….could even apply to the “scientist” that Joanne refers to above as well

Bill

Lovesetfree
Reply

You’re brave, Rusty…and thanks for saying it.

Royce Foster
Reply

Thanks for speaking out Randy.

Royce Foster
Reply

Sorry Rusty I called you Randy.

Rusty
Reply

Royce,

Worry not. It happens.

Mark
Reply

I wanted to raise another point on your great article. I would love to see any evidence that aerial spraying has ever had anything other than very short-term impact upon the existence of viruses in the population of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are one of the most persistent animals, will take very high levels of pollution, and breed in a few days. In my view, interventions need to be science-led, and if we do not have scientific evidence that of effectiveness then it’s obvious environmental damage should stop the spraying. However, it is clear that politicians have to be able to claim to have done something.

As a long term gardener in the UK and now in NC, I found out that the only time to use any insecticide was in narrowly targeted, specific cases, where the only alternative was complete loss of plants. Now I am keeping bees I have stopped all spraying.

Robert Brouillet
Reply

Living in Ridgeville SC, having lost 7 hives, will voice my views. The county and the person pulling the trigger should have notified the beekeepers in advance. That was the first missed-step.

Bob

Loralei
Reply

This is a fabulous post… although I live on BC, I read about the spraying, & I feel for everyone down there. Here, I am near farm land, & spraying happens – I just always hope that my bees stick to all the lovely local gardens.

I know people who rent out their colonies, and have lost a good portion of their bee population when they aren’t told about spraying.. it’s so sad, to see the de is in in SC – it seemed purely reactive, rather than proactive. Another well thought out post – thank you, Rusty, for your insights.

JoAnne
Reply

So sad about your loss and all the other beekeepers’ losses. It breaks my heart as a fellow beekeeper. And it breaks my heart even more for all the native bees who will never get any notification.

Bianca
Reply

Hi Rusty, thanks for your reply, I had the very same thought about locking them in the night before and our local inspector voiced concerns of overheating. I do have screened bottoms (would not go without them anymore as per your suggestion), and I could use #8 wire cloth to close the entrance which would let some air through. Am I missing something in this picture? Would it be just the increased number of bees, without the ability to leave, in the hive that would cause the overheating regardless of ventilation? Definitely don’t want to cause more harm than good. Thanks for all your great advice. Your site is the best, most comprehensive on the net for all beekeeping concerns.
Bianca

Rusty
Reply

Bianca,

The extra heat comes from all the bee bodies that are locked inside as well as reduced ventilation due to the sheet over the top. Even with good ventilation on the bottom and top, the sheet will greatly reduce air movement. That is good as far as reducing pesticide exposure but bad from a ventilation point of view. If you can keep the hives shaded during the lock-down, it would help a lot.

Marian
Reply

I live and keep bees in an area with high West Nile exposure (Orange County Calif.). Our county vector control sprays (not sure what pesticide) but may only do so at night and after a warning period (two weeks). It allows us to plan, and I’ll be using your suggestions the next time they notify us.

Unfortunately, last year they forgot to consult the FAA and so couldn’t do it as they need to spray over/near Disneyland, which is a controlled-flyover area. WNV (like zika) is generally just a nuisance, but some people do react badly and die. So it’s worth making the effort to control.

I do have to take issue with the government controlling health care. They provide guidelines, which the insurance companies invoke as gospel. The insurance companies should be able to make exceptions, but the profit motive rules all. (Soap box off)

David R
Reply

Once again a common sense balanced approach. Thank you

Mary G.
Reply

Well said. It scares me..

Christine Dickson
Reply

I can confirm that it is toxic to humans. In Florida, just a few weeks ago, 150 Boy Scouts were camping in a public park. A low-flying helicopter came in and sprayed three times over the boys outside. Many of them got severely ill with breathing issues, headache, diarrhea, nausea and more. Several of the boys missed school and one of them so severe had to go to the doctor. My son and husband were on this camp out.

In addition, as a beekeeper, a few of my fellow beekeepers had their hives killed by Naled. One beekeeper in particular lost 100 hives. They should not aerial spray! You can’t escape it and not prevent the bees from being affected.

Heather
Reply

Hi Rusty,

If you don’t mind, I’d love to pick your brain about one of my hives. I had checked this hive a week and a half earlier and it was bustling and strong. They were a little grumpy but I think it was because a few weeks earlier they were being robbed by yellowjackets, which had been controlled by closing off all but a single bee entrance on the hive, but the yellowjackets were still hanging around outside of the hive and under the hive. I think the constant guarding made them a little testy. I had considered trying to move the hive to get away from the yellowjackets but I am not strong enough to move the entire two deep hive without separating the boxes and the yellowjackets were spending the night under the hive. When I went to move the hive one night the guard bees were actively watching the entrance and started crawling all over the hive before I could block the entrance. Then the yellowjackets started buzzing and the fighting started, I just couldn’t bring myself to potentially open up the hive and let all the yellowjackets in and accidentally bring them in the move just because I couldn’t see. The hive had a frame feeder in it but, due to the stalking yellowjackets, I decided not to top it off (it had been filled just 2 days before). This was a smaller hive going into the huge goldenrod flow we get. They were only in two deeps and the top deep was only half capped honey with the bottom deep being brood with beautiful arches of capped honey and pollen and the 4 outermost frames were capped honey. I had a nice fat queen that was still happily filling every cell in the brood box. There was a pretty even mix of eggs, larva and capped brood. I had treated this hive with an oxalic acid dribble at the end of August (sugar roll test had 6 mites per 100 bees) and was quite pleased to find my hive thriving and the mite board mite-free at the last inspection. I removed the mite board to help with ventilation at the last inspection. While the camped out yellowjackets were a concern at the top of my list, the hive seemed to be protecting itself well and I was hoping the yellowjackets were just scavenging dead bees and scraps. (Have you ever heard of yellowjackets not returning to their nests at night and just camping out under the hive? There were a dozen of them bunched together on the cinder block under the hive.)
Now for the part where I could use your opinion. I checked my hive yesterday (Sunday) and knew immediately something was wrong. The lid was on cocked (tipped) to the front of the hive and the big rock that lives on the lid was on the ground behind the hive. My very first thought was I had lost my mind and forgot how to put a lid on but then I was concerned that an animal had been digging into the hive but couldn’t get my very tight fitting lid all the way off. My heart sank as I watched the entrance, it was dead quite. I took of the lid and the entire hive tipped back with the lid. It was feather light. As I started to take off the inner cover I was buzzed by a couple of angry bees so I was hopeful that I was wrong, but as soon as I opened it I knew, the hive was dead. All the comb in the top box had been ripped open and was empty, the feeder was also empty. The bottom box is where I started to get confused. My bottom board was solid with dead bees, including my queen. Most of the bees had their tongues sticking out, this says pesticide to me. I checked the ground (this hive sits on top of dark gravel making bee bodies difficult to see) under the hive was another pile of dead bees and yellowjackets. I’m still thinking pesticide. I started to go through my frames in the bottom box, each frame had been emptied out except for capped brood (weird) and there were a few bee butts sticking out around the brood. Now I’m worried it was starvation (but there weren’t large numbers of bee butts together like winter starvation. It looked more like bee warming blankets for the brood?). Did the yellowjackets eat all of their stores and the bees starved? Can that happen during a strong goldenrod flow? Don’t yellowjackets eat bees? None of the dead bees were torn apart. Could the bees in the cells simply be part of the cluster when it died? The pile of bees in the hive was light and fluffy. There was no smell. All the wax is dry and brittle which concerns me that the lab won’t be able to tell if it was a pesticide kill because they didn’t die today. I froze everything to send it in for testing, but I’m not sure what time frame I’m working with.
My brain won’t let this go. If this was my fault, I need to learn from it. If this was some jerk, I want to go kick their butt!
The lid being weird, the fact that it is bow hunting season and there are people trespassing on my property to bow hunt, that there is a field within site of the hive and that the dead bees had their tongues out puts pesticide kill on the table. (But, who sprays a field in October? If it was a hunter, it takes some big kahones to trespass, then open an active bee hive and spray it. I’d like to think no one is that big of a jerk but hubby says it’s totally possible if my crabby hive was bugging them. A hunter that already doesn’t care that he’s trespassing would not think twice about killing the hive to make sure they can hunt. In the past, trespassing hunters have cut down trees and even pulled bushes to open clear shooting lanes. Grrr)
Could it have been yellowjackets? Yellowjackets living around the hive rings a little bell in the back of my mind. I think I read (on your site) that yellowjackets can be a sign of how the colony is doing. They are drawn to weaker hives? Maybe they were just drawn to that hive because it was the smallest hive I have and it’s 5 acres away from any other hive.
I don’t think, due to the clean mite board, it was mites.
Sorry for the long post, but I would really appreciate any opinion you have. This is driving me crazy!

Heather
Reply

Other than the dead yellowjackets on the ground, there are zero yellowjackets still at this hive. There aren’t even ants on the hive. Other than the couple of lost bees that don’t seem to know where to go, there are no bugs on or around the hive. This is strange given that this hive is in the middle of a wildflower field that borders a forest. The number of different ‘bugs’ I usually see just milling about on the flowers is big. Yesterday, it was a ghost town.

Rusty
Reply

Heather,

Quite frankly, your comment got pushed to the back burner due to it’s length. I don’t have a lot of time to answer comments, and I try to fit them in between other things and this just took forever to read. Nevertheless, it was interesting. It certainly sounds like you know what you are doing, and I can’t see any obvious errors. You are right: it looks like pesticides, especially since the yellowjackets were dead too. Also, the fact that the stone was in back of the hive but the lid was tipped forward makes it sound like a human and not an animal. But even if it were a hunter, how many carry pesticides around with them? Testing is a good idea.

Heather
Reply

Please feel free to delete my previous comments above. I received confirmation last night that someone sprayed a pesticide into and around my hive. It’s very depressing knowing that anyone is that inconsiderate for both life and other people’s property. Ignorance is frustrating, maliciousness is maddening.

Rusty
Reply

Heather,

I’m leaving your comments up, if it’s all right with you. Your story, the way you took care of your hives, and the way you diagnosed the problem are all amazing. If anything, I’d like to know more. Please tell us the details.

But let me say, I’m so sorry this happened to you. I can’t believe someone would come on your property and do such a thing.

Heather
Reply

Rusty,

I just wanted to update you regarding the situation posted above. Everything finally wrapped up last week.
We contacted the sheriff for our county to see what could be done. The sheriff was really great about wanting to help. He had a DNR warden do some sniffing around and found the hunter that sprayed my hive. It is my understanding that the hunter’s brother told the warden who sprayed my hive and how (although he said his brother sprayed into the hive from the landing board and never took off the lid). He said that his brother did not realize it was a beehive, he just thought it was a box that yellow jackets had made a nest in. *Insert biggest eye roll possible here* Just for clarification, this hive sat in the middle of a 10 x 10 area that had been leveled off with gravel and roped off so no one (my kids) would accidentally get too close.

Anyway, when the sheriff went to talk to the hunter in person, the story changed. The hunter told the sheriff that he sprayed the area around his tree stand but never got close to my hive. Whatever!

At least the sheriff was able to write the hunter a citation for trespassing thanks to pictures from my trail camera by the driveway. I also had a trail camera set up in front of the hive. I have a camera on all of my hives so I can see if anything is messing with them. The camera was mysteriously open, a rainstorm fried it, and the SD card was missing. Coincidence, I think not! Had the camera not been tampered with, photos of his vandalism would have at least given me the ability to press charges and recoup the cost of a new hive.

As for testing, I was unable to get any response from the lab I thought could test for pesticide. I dug around online but could not find another lab that was still doing testing. Not that the results could do anything to help increase the charges against the hunter. I was able to get my bee samples tested for Varroa and nosema. My hive had .3 Varroa and 0.00 nosema. At least I know they were healthy and it wasn’t mismanagement that caused to their demise.

Heather
Reply

This is what I learned and would like to pass on to anyone concerned about being in a similar situation:

1. If you are concerned about vandals, of any kind, try to put a camera up that can see any traffic around your hive. Hide the camera if you can! If you can’t hide it, get a camera that you can lock access to the batteries and SD card. Get a python cable and lock your camera to a solid object such as a tree. If you are concerned about your camera being damaged, the DNR warden told me that most trail cameras have or will fit inside a universal security lock box. The lock box locks your camera inside a metal case and covers all but the flash and lenses. If someone damages your camera lens, the camera will have recorded the activity to your protected SD card so you will have proof.

2. Almost no one cares that your box of stinging insects was vandalized. Because of this, you have to do a lot of the leg work yourself if you want to try and find/prosecute the person responsible. The camera is part of this, it can give you proof. Even better is to try to prevent anything from happening to begin with. If possible, keep your hives out of sight. For example, my hive was at the back of a 10 acre forest. I thought it was safe. Instead of giving my hive a large clearing under 1 tree, it was suggested that next time I should place it on the edge of the forest where vegetation won’t be an issue and the hive can blend in with the trees.

Also, if your hives are at an out yard, make friends with your neighbors there. Don’t let the distance between neighbors discourage you. The distance is sometimes a good thing. It makes it harder for vandals to hide if they think they have been caught. Your neighbors might notice a strange car or people walking/running away from your apiary and have time to get a description or license plate. Since this situation happened to my hive, I have met all of my neighbors. For the rest of the hunting season I would usually get at least one neighbor a week stop by and tell me that someone was on my land. They would then either give me a description of the person and vehicle or tell me that they told the person to leave, and then gave me a description of the person and vehicle. During the spring hunting season, I did not have any issues with people trespassing on my land. That is the first hunting season with no trespassers! If people know that there are random eyes on your property, they will be less likely to cause trouble (at least during the day).

3. If you are on a property like mine, where DNR wardens can randomly stop by, especially during hunting season, be nice to them! They might be able to help you out if anything like this should happen. Even though the DNR warden couldn’t get a testimony to bring more charges against the hunter, he is keeping an eye out for the hunter and makes sure to check in on him whenever he sees him hunting.

Stacie Stone RN, PCCN
Reply

Thank you from Johns Island, SC !! Well said! Charleston, Berkley, and Dorchester counties of the Lowcountry of SC apologised for the un-announced devestation they created, but the long term damage is done in more ways than one. I have just one hive. Fortunately, I dodged ALL forms of arial assault !

Stacie Stone

Rebecca
Reply

One of my hives was effected by a chemical/insecticide and unfortunately I don’t think they’re going to survive. My other two hives were not inflected the same way; the entrances face different direction. Is it possible that something might have been sprayed and carried in the wind? And should I take an precautions to protect my surviving hives? I’m tempted to move them, but as an urban keeper that a challenge! Are there other ways I can help protect my surviving hives?

Rusty
Reply

Rebecca,

Different colonies forage in different places. My guess is that your afflicted colony was foraging in a sprayed area and the other two were not. You can close up the two colonies at night so they can’t forage the next day, but if you do that be sure they have plenty of water and ventilation. It can get very hot inside a closed hive.

Rebecca
Reply

Thanks Rusty. I always appreciate your quick advise! I saw from another post of yours that you’ve done extensive research in the area. In my poisoned hive, do you think all the capped and open larva will die too? Also are the honey safe to freeze for spring feeding if needed or was all of their hard work for naught?

Rusty
Reply

Rebecca,

Most pesticides are soluble in oil-based substrates, not water-based, so the honey is most probably just fine. Honey seldom gets contaminated in this way. Most probably the larvae are fine too. The poisoned bees usually die quickly or are to too sick to do their regular feeding chores. In any case, without testing, you don’t know for sure it was pesticides that killed them, and certainly you don’t know which one. So I would take care of the bees as normal, and treat the honey as normal, and see if your colony can get past it.

Rebecca
Reply

Thank you!!!!!

Leave a comment

name*

email* (not published)

website

Beekeeping Will Change YouSee How
+