Galveston Co. to make changes after thousands of bees killed by mosquito sprays

Galveston County officials say they will make big changes after mosquito pesticides killed at least nine thousand bees belonging to registered bee keepers.

SANTA FE, Texas – Galveston County commissioners will reveal plans to use the county’s emergency management system to protect bees from mosquito sprays.

The new plans come in response to thousands of bees dying from mosquito control efforts last fall.

While some backpedal, drop everything and run, Chuck Meyers keeps honey bees in his backyard. He has six hives.

“I’m the landlord,” he said. “I rent these hives and the bees they rent them from me and they pay me with honey.”

So you can imagine how he felt on September 22, 2016. That day he snapped a photo of 9,000 of his bees lying dead outside their hives.

Test results from a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in North Carolina said a strong pesticide killed the bees.

That pesticide came from a county mosquito control plane, Meyers said. 

So, he complained to Joe Giusti.

“Nobody wants to run out of food,” said Giusti, Galveston County Commissioner for Precinct 2. “So you need the bees. There’s been a die off of bees. So anything that we can do to protect them at this point is something we have to do.”

Giusti then worked with emergency managers to create new alerts to warn bee keepers of any changes made to mosquito spray times and areas that are posted online.

“That gives us the option to move our hives, cover our hives or whatever steps we want to take as bee keepers to protect our bees,” said Dane Beito, another bee keeper. 

“We feel that if we can get the communication together, then we solve a lot of the issues that we’re having with the bees,” said Steven Brackmann, president of the Houston Bee Keepers Association.

Meyers stopped short of calling it a sweet deal. He lost three weeks of honey production, which hurt. However, he knows how to get over things that sting.

“This is not a system that is going to be perfect,” Meyers said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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