Zika spraying has local beekeepers panicking

Beekeepers feel spray killed their bees
Posted at 9:11 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 22:20:32-04

LEE COUNTY - The recent heavy rains has Lee County Mosquito Control working overtime.

All that spraying has many local beekeepers in a panic, claiming the toxic spray is killing their bees and their source of income.

Dennis Riggs is considered a small beekeeper with about 80,000 bees at his Alva home.

But some in Lee County have millions buzzing around and they're now complaining the county's Zika spraying is killing their bees.

Riggs tells us, "They're spraying in residential areas, they're not spraying cow pastures. If you know that you locate your bees in a place that's not frequently sprayed."

Riggs expects to lose some of his bees when Lee County Mosquito Control begins spraying.

He also gets a head's up and was just notified that airplanes will begin dropping more spray around his home.

In a voicemail message from the county a woman says, "You're going to have a plane in your area tonight between 9pm and 2am in the morning, weather permitting. Thank you."

A mosquito control spokesperson tells us beekeepers recently complained the spray killed their bees in North Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

But, according to the county, "they haven't sprayed with any truck or plane in those areas recently"

That, however, is about to change.

Due to recent heavy rains, major spraying will now begin in Alva, North Fort Myers and Estero.

That's hitting close to home for Riggs, who lives in Alva.

Riggs tells us the county, "Says they have it formulated in small enough atomized droplets and it kills only on contact and it's only enough dosage to kill a mosquito sized insect but mistakes happen."

The county says if a beekeeper feels the county has killed their bees they should "call the Florida Department of Agriculture to report it and they'll send an inspector out to determine the bees’ cause of death."

Riggs takes a calm approach to beekeeping and feels others should also keep their cool.

Riggs says, "Even though they can blame anybody they want, they got to do something to keep their bees from getting poisoned."

The county tries to spray at night because that's when bees are in their hives.

And, as we mentioned, beekeepers can register for notifications so they'll know exactly when and where the county will be spraying.