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The mysterious honeybee apocalypse: Up to 12 million bees found dead and dying in Florida and no one knows whyBy Michael Zennie
Last updated at 6:05 PM on 3rd October 2011
Honeybee carcasses coated the ground around hundreds of Florida beehives after a mysterious massacre claimed millions of bees and mutilated a way of life for local bee keepers.
Experts have ruled out 'colony collapse disorder' and the bee keepers suspect that their bees were poisoned with pesticide. ...No one can tell yet what killed as many as 12 million bees from 800 hives this week in Brevard County, on central Florida's Atlantic coast.
Dead: Charles Smith, a Florida bee keeper, says millions of his bees were mysteriously poisoned this week
The massive bee die-off has stung Charles Smith, whose Smith Family Honey Company lost $150,000 worth of bees.
'I'm a pretty tough guy but it is heart wrenching,' he told News 13 in Orlando. 'Not only is it a monetary loss here, but we work really hard on these bees to keep them in good health.'
Smith scooped up handfuls of dead bees that littered the ground around his hives. The bees he raises go to farmers around the country to pollinate numerous crops, he said.
Carcasses: Dead bees litter the ground around the hives where they once thrived
The bee deaths show the tell-tale signs of pesticide poising, experts said. State officials are testing dead bees to determine exactly what killed them.
The Brevard County Sheriff's Office is investigating the deaths, which spanned 30 sites in a mile-and-a-half radius, as a possible crime.
'The fact that it was so widespread and so rapid, I think you can pretty much rule out disease,' Bill Kern, a University of Florida entomologist, told Florida Today. 'It happened essentially almost in one day. Usually diseases affect adults or the brood, you don’t have something that kills them both.'
No disease: Experts have ruled out "colony collapse disorder" as the cause of death
So-called 'colony collapse disorder' has killed bees in millions of hives around the world, but the effects of that disease are more gradual and the bees typically leave the hive before they die, Kern said.
County officials sprayed mosquito-killing pesticide from the air last week, though they said the poison dissipates quickly and should not have harmed the bees. '
Letter: Story about bees in Micco makes me wonder about oddity in Washington County
Florida officials are investigating how millions of honey bees were killed in Micco
I live in Washington County. The story about the investigation into how millions of bees were killed in Micco caught my eye, because recently we had something happen I never saw before.
We have an elm tree in our yard. For two days in September it was covered with hundreds of honey bees. Then, they disappeared. We'd never before seen them in the tree's 4-year life.
Ms. *****, I have been told that the 'chemical' analysis of all of the samples will be completed next week. Until that is on the table it is all just a guess. Thank you. Jerry Hayes
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I have been watching the news for updates about the bee deaths, but hadn't seen anything. Can you tell me if the test results were able to provide any answers? Have you or anyone else come to any conclusions as to what may have caused the mass die off?
Thanks in advance for your time.
Nothing was found that would implicate Mosquito control. Still looking. Thanks. Jerry