Attempt to rid of mosquitoes backfires
The latest assault against the Zika virus has come with some deadly backlash. On August 26, the Dorchester County, SC Administrator's Office announced they would attempt to rid of Zika mosquitoes by conducting aerial spraying of Naled, an insecticide developed to kill adult mosquitoes.
This was an attempt to supplement ground spray trucks and larvae control programs due to the high concern about the safety of the citizens within the county, as there was an influx in Zika cases across the state.
Informing the public
The newsletter published on August 26 by the county informed the public that spraying by aircraft would occur two days later, on August 28. This notice met the requirements set forth by the South Carolina Pesticide Control Act, which requires notice “not less than 24 hours prior to application.”
A letter issued by Jason Ward, County Administrator, stated there was an attempt to notify on both August 26 and 27, and that notices were also sent to a number of media and social media outlets.
Results do not meet expectations
On August 28, the county proceeded as planned, yet the results did not meet expectations. By one account, nearly 2.5 million bees were killed at Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies. Juanita Stanly, a beekeeper at Flowertown, stated: “It’s all contaminated.” The aerial spraying not only caused the farm to lose its hives, but it lost the equipment and the honey, as well, as it all was tainted with the pesticide.
As reported by a local South Carolina news outlet, several bee farms claimed to have not received the information about the impromptu spraying activities. Due to the lack of knowledge of upcoming aerial spraying, bee keepers did not take steps to protect hives. Stanly stated, “Nobody called me about the aerial spraying ... They sprayed at 8 a.m. Sunday, and all my bees were out, doing their work by then.”
The EPA suggests that the spraying of Naled be conducted during dusk and dawn, as bees are typically not out rummaging for food during this time.
Changes to be made
Due to the devastation caused by the aerial spraying, Dorchester County suspended any additional spraying flights at this time. They also acknowledged that more time is needed for notification and will now notify 3 to 5 days in advance. There is also now a county notification list for all beekeepers to register with, and the county will directly call or email those registered prior to future applications.