Georgia county says mosquito spraying is killing its bees

Honey Bees Flying Into Beehive Bringing Pollen
Caption
Honey Bees Flying Into Beehive Bringing Pollen

Credit: alexandrumagurean

Credit: alexandrumagurean

Douglas County, Georgia, has suspended its mosquito control program because officials say the pesticides kill too many honeybees.

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Beekeeper Marilyn Parker said she lost 22 hives last year and nearly that many the year before. She blames it on pesticides used to kill mosquitoes.

"You would just see dead bees. Piles of dead bees. You open the hive and you see nothing but dead bees," Parker said.

Experts say the loss of all those bees is affecting the local honey industry.

Parker also says it should concern everyone, because it’s ultimately about protecting what the insects pollinate.

"Everything we eat, we have the bees to thank. At least for every third bite of food that you put in your mouth," Parker said.

She estimates there are at least 1,500 hives in the county.

Many metro area municipalities have spraying programs. Douglas County officials are currently exploring other methods of controlling mosquitoes that won't harm honeybees.

"We don't have Zika here in Georgia yet. But when we do, yes, I understand that," Parker said.

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