DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD)– Dorchester County is apologizing for accidentally killing millions of bees in Summerville.
The honeybees were killed by an aerial spray of a pesticide used to control mosquito populations over the weekend.The spray came after rising concerns of the Zika virus. There are 4 confirmed travel related cases of Zika in the Summerville area.
Registered bee owners are supposed to be warned prior to mosquito spraying but were not told this time.
We spoke to bee keepers who say they were devastated to see their colonies dead.
“I was angry that day, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that we spray poison from the sky, said bee owner Andrew Macke.
But Macke wants this incident to be a teaching moment.
“If we turn this into a teachable moment, how important bees are to the environment and how unhealthy it is to aerial spray a pesticide,” said Macke.
Another bee owner we spoke to says she knows it was a mistakes and is confident it wont happen again.
“We have to be kind and compassionate and figure out whats going to be the best methods to treat anything, without harming the honeybees,” said co-owner of Flowertown Bee farm and Supply, Nita Stanley.
The insecticide used for the spraying is called Naled. Dorchester County regularly sprays insecticides from trucks but this is the first time they conducted aerial spraying.
Clemson University took samples of the soil and honey at Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply to learn more about why the bees died.
Dorchester County also opened a call center for people who want to report any bees affected by the spraying. That number is 843-832-0393.