Friday, September 02, 2016

Bees 'Nuked' in South Carolina

Man's mismanagement of Earth is too rudely obscene to ignore any longer.  We are endangering our own survival as a species.  Sure, even some of the dinosaurs transformed into birds to live past their cataclysmic destruction by an asteroid the size of Mount Everest, but are you willing to take bets on surviving the anthropomorphic cataclysm of climate change to come?  Probably not.

The latest episode testifying to nature's fundamental imbalance is this story from South Carolina.  The state responded to the emerging Zika virus threat by spraying pesticide aimed at mosquitoes that could be carrying the disease.  On Sunday, honeybees, already decimated by sudden colony collapse syndrome, began dyeing in clumps at the entrance to their hives.  The pattern of mass deaths of all ages of workers indicated acute pesticide poisoning.  At one apiary in Summerville, SC, forty-six hives died off representing a population of 2.5 million bees.  A Clemson scientist collected soil samples on Monday and the samples were tested.  The cause of death was confirmed: Dorchester County's efforts to eradicate Zika-carrying mosquitoes by aerial spraying tragically misfired.  There are four confirmed cases of Zika infection in the county, but the state reports no confirmed cases of infection are from local mosquitoes.  Registered bee owners were supposed to be warned prior to the spraying, so they could have a chance to shield their hives, but some were not reached by the county.

County officials have apologized for the mistake of raining death from the air.  Naled was sprayed Sunday morning, departing from the usual method of dispensing pesticides from tanker trucks.  Cornell University warns on its chemical database that Naled is extremely toxic to bees.  Spraying at night when bees are sleeping in their hives is a less toxic method of pesticide application. Because the weather was warm, bees gathered in groups called "beards" at the entrance to their hives to cool down on Sunday morning.  Then came the plane dispensing Naled.  They did not have a chance.