Health

Zika spraying kills millions of bees

Updated 5:59 PM ET, Fri September 2, 2016
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Millions of honeybees were killed in South Carolina when mosquito control officials didn't notify a local beekeeper of aerial spraying to control possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes. Courtesy Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies
This is what a hive looked like just before the spraying, said Juanita Stanley, co-owner of Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply. Courtesy Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies
This is what a hive looked like after, said Stanley. She said she lost more than 3 millions bees in "mere minutes" after spraying began. Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies
More than 46 hives were killed by the spray, ruining her entire business, said Stanley. Courtesy Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies
"Predators move in when the bees are dead and cannot protect the brood and honey," Stanley said. Courtesy Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies
"This a beetle blaster used to protect the honeybees from the beetles," Stanley said. "Now, it's filled with mostly maggots, trying to eat the honey." Courtesy Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies
Mosquito control officials were following state and manufacturer recommendations to spray early in the day, in the two hours after dawn. Unfortunately, say experts, bees are often up and working by then in the summertime.

"Spraying in the am is the worst thing they can do for bees," said Jeffrey Harris, who runs the Honey Bee Extension and Research Program for Mississippi State.
Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies
"This is all that's left of our once-thriving hives," Stanley said. Courtesy Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies
Stanley called her bees "honey girls" and was looking forward to dividing her hives and selling the bees "to spread the honey girls out there into the world."

"All of them are dead now," she said. "I can't help anyone anymore."
Courtesy Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies
"I don't know the long term effect on my hives, the honey, the equipment," said Stanley. "I don't know if it's contaminated or not." Courtesy Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies
"I have no other choice but to destroy all of this work my little honey girls have been creating because I can't give it away," Stanley said. Courtesy Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies