Home > Mass Animal Deaths > Florida: Mysterious South Brevard Bee Kill Confounds, Costs Keepers

Florida: Mysterious South Brevard Bee Kill Confounds, Costs Keepers

By JIM WAYMER – “Charles Smith last saw his bees alive early last week.

When the Fellsmere beekeeper checked them Monday, his heart dropped as he saw the mounds of dead bees spilling out of all 400 of his hives off Babcock Street, about a half-mile south of Micco Road near the Indian River County line.

Another beekeeper about a mile south found a similar amount of his bees dead, around the same time, Smith said.

‘This is a total wipeout,’ Smith said as he opened the green wooden hives to show the destroyed honey. ‘This is all no good. It’s been sprayed.’

He estimates he lost $150,000 in honey proceeds, the bees and their future generations.

The beekeepers aren’t accusing anyone, and Brevard County officials doubt recent mosquito control spraying in the area killed the bees.

But the die-off left behind the hallmarks of a pesticide kill, experts say, sparking a whodunit beehive mystery in South Brevard.

‘Right now it’s too early to start pointing fingers at anybody,’ said Bill Kern, an entomologist with the University of Florida’s Research and Education Center in Fort Lauderdale, who has been following the case. ‘The fact that it was so widespread and so rapid, I think you can pretty much rule out disease,’ Kern said. ‘It happened essentially almost in one day. Usually diseases affect adults or the brood, you don’t have something that kills them both.’

State agriculture officials gathered dead and dying bees from both hives Thursday to test for pesticides. Results could take several weeks.

‘Right now, we don’t know what pesticide, if any, was involved,’ Kern said. ‘If there’s a real high level, it’s going to be pretty obvious.'” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths
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