Last night, my husband attended our beekeeping association meeting. He was looking forward to it all day. Talking with other “bee people” is exciting, chatting about the upcoming spring, opening up the hives after winter, installing new bees, etc. I couldn’t wait for him to come home to with new beekeeping ideas and to see his face light up as he waxed poetic about beekeeping.
Only, that didn’t happen. Instead, he brought back a story that chilled me to my bones about someone deliberately killing the bees just a few towns away from us in Rehoboth, MA.
Just Another Accidental Spraying?
We read about the bee deaths when it happened. Early reports seemed to suggest this was yet another case of farmers in the vicinity being irresponsible with chemicals. That may have been what investigators originally suspected, as hypothesized by Eric Pilotte, the president of the Bristol County Beekeepers Association. In this interview, Pilotte spoke of how bees can forage up to three miles away and may have brought back poisoned pollen and nectar to the hive.
“All indications are it was some type of pesticide or insecticide that’s the culprit,” Pilotte said. “In this case, they were able to bring back some of those contaminants and I think that’s what spread like wildfire through the hive.”
Fellow association member, entomologist and retired superintendent of the Bristol County Mosquito Control Project, Wayne Andrews, thought it had to have happened “closer to home“.
Andrews said bees can fly as far as three or four miles in search of food and water but he suspects the Rehoboth bees consumed the poison closer to home, likely no more than a mile away.
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