CBS: Florida officials are abuzz as to how millions of honey bees were killed in Brevard County. Experts say pesticides might be behind the lost beehives. [Or, it could be a heavy dose of chemtrails. ~Ed.]
“The fact that it was so widespread and so rapid, I think you can pretty much rule out disease,” Bill Kern, an entomologist with the University of Florida’s Research and Education Center, told Florida Today. “It happened essentially almost in one day. Usually diseases affect adults or the brood, you don’t have something that kills them both.”
Florida Today: 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.”
Brevard County Mosquito Control sprayed the area — just south of Deer Run subdivision — by helicopter the night of Sept. 21, said Peter Taylor, an operations manger for the agency.
But that spraying of dibrom droplets wouldn’t have likely killed the bees, he said, because the pesticide only remains active about 30 minutes. They sprayed the area at about 9 p.m. that night, he estimates, when the bees would have been inside their hives.
Bees are crucial pollinators.
Farmers can raise avocado yields by 25 percent, for example, by using bees, according to the Florida Farm Bureau. They increase citrus yields, too, and squashes, melons, cucumbers. Cantaloupe can’t produce fruit without them.
Like canaries in a coal mine, bees also reflect the overall health of the environment. The nation has been undergoing a rapid loss of bees over the past few years that may signal a decline in the health of the planet, biologists say, and a symptom of a much larger environmental problem.
But experts say the recent South Brevard bee die-offs don’t fit the usual signs of so-called “colony collapse disorder.” Usually, no dead bees are left behind in colony collapse.
Adult bees disappear from the hive, leaving behind the queen, boxes full of honey, pollen and a few other bees.
Scientists are studying multiple potential causes of colony collapse disorder, which some suspect may not even be a new phenomenon.
Inquiries have pointed to simple malnutrition, genetically modified crops, a mite that transmits viruses to bees, or some undiscovered pests or diseases.
Bees twitched and struggled Thursday among piles of their dead kin at Smiths lost hives.
“I rolled the dice on my whole life,” said Smith, who switched back to beekeeping from construction and roofing a few years ago after the housing crash. He’s got 32 years experience beekeeping, he said, and he’s had small die-offs in the past, but never anything like this. “I will never get compensated for what I’ve lost.”