To Our Membership:
Mid-State Beekeepers Association has established a good relationship with both Richland County Vector Control as well as Lexington County. Both have given presentations at our meetings (Richland County this year and Lexington County in 2015) and both are well aware of the needs of the beekeepers. Last year when we had the flood, I spoke with Richland County Vector Control prior to aerial spraying and they had already telephoned every beekeeper they had on file (except one disconnected phone) and they were happy to give me exact coordinates of the spraying so that we could also contact beekeepers that had not listed their contact information with them.
To County Vector Control Departments in the South Carolina Midlands:
Mid-State Beekeepers Association would like to make you aware of an asset at your disposal. Our organization has grown a great deal over the past several years and we have developed a large email database of area beekeepers. While not all inclusive, we have the ability to quickly send an email alert to our 285 dues paying members and to over 550 local individuals that subscribe to our monthly newsletter in Lexington, Richland, Calhoun and surrounding counties. Of course we encourage all of our active members to register their hives with their local Vector Control departments as a first line of contact should contact be needed.
However if, for any reason, you have a need to send an alert out to local beekeepers we would welcome facilitating that action for you.
For general distribution to all beekeepers in the Midlands:
Honey Bees and Zika
(excerpts from Clemson Update on Honey Bees in the News at: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/beekeepers/news_feed.html
- Midlands specific material and additional links added)
You have likely seen or heard about the bee kill in SC. Mosquito control and pollinator protection can lead to conflict - communication break downs can be devastating. This is a complex issue and simple and easy answers are lacking. Complicating the human and pollinator health issues is that Aedes mosquitoes are active during the day so night time sprays are not as effective as those at dawn & dusk. Also, SC's climate is very suitable for these mosquitoes and can lead to exposure of bees thanks to warm and humid nights (bees beard on the outside of the hive, increasing ventilation in the hive).
One positive thing to note is that there are measures we can take to limit mosquito population growth. Eliminating standing water reduces breeding grounds for mosquitoes and the use of biological control methods, like Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), can reduce larvae with little risk to honey bees and other bee pollinators. By knocking down the larval population, we should have fewer adults, which lowers the likelihood of bites and Zika transmission (and therefore, sprays). We beekeepers should work to become advocates for bee-safe(r) mosquito control methods that can lead to reduced sprays (and risk for bees).
Please see and use the following resources to help prevent another bee kill incident. PLEASE COMMUNICATE with one another to protect pollinators and human health.
Know who to contact - SC has several agencies that deal with honey bees, each with a different aspect. Please look over the chart below to make sure you contact the appropriate resource - time can be of the essence and contacting the wrong agency will likely lead to a delay.
Clemson University Department of Plant Industry (DPI)
Clemson University Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR)
SC does not have a mandatory hive registry. As a result, it is imperative that beekeepers sign up for pesticide notifications. Below are links to local mosquito control contacts and Clemson's voluntary Bee Stewardship Program.
*If you are a member of a local bee club, please let mosquito control know of any social media your club has so they may post planned treatments and notifications.
Clemson’s Hive Mapping/Bee Stewardship Program (see more information in earlier post)
Beekeeper portal: http://www.kellysolutions.com/clemson/beekeepers/
*Mosquito control applicators - please contact your local bee club to find out what social media resources they have so you can post notifications in a timely manner. http://scstatebeekeepers.com/home/local-associations/
Beekeepers and homeowners:
Protect pollinators by eliminating breeding grounds for MOSQUITOES! The better we control mosquitoes, the fewer bites, the smaller the population, and the lower the need for treatments (which can harm pollinators). Visit the DHEC website for more information about Zika virus in SC. http://www.scdhec.gov/Health/DiseasesandConditions/InfectiousDiseases/InsectAnimalBorne/ZikaVirus/
Beekeepers should contact their local mosquito control program to see if they maintain a beekeeper notification list and can sign up for Clemson's voluntary bee stewardship program (above).
Mosquito Control Contact Numbers:
It is prudent for beekeepers to notify their local mosquito control departments to request placement on their "No Spray" list. Also, included here is the link to the list maintained by Clemson which is made available to private companies licensed to apply pesticides.
Contact your local mosquito/vector control office to keep your honey bees as safe as possible during mosquito spraying season.
In Lexington County contact: Lexington County Vector Control Email Mr. David Mitchum at: [email protected] 803-785-8440.
In Richland County contact: To get on their list call the Ombudsman's Office at (803) 929-6000.
In Batesburg-Leesville contact: Mosquito Control Program at (803) 532-5405
In Calhoun County / Saint Matthews area call Calhoun County Mosquito Control at 803-874-2914.
For a list of various Vector Control offices in other areas visit this link:
Anyone wanting to register their hives with Clemson’s Voluntary Beehive Mapping Program can go to: http://www.kellysolutions.com/clemson/beekeepers/
Issues related to bee kills and to report inappropriate use of pesticides in SC may be reported to Clemson's Department of Pesticide Regulatory (not Plant Industry Apiary Inspectors). http://www.clemson.edu/public/regulatory
Beekeepers can also look over recommendations from Florida's Department of Ag on Zika control programs & beekeeping. http://www.freshfromflorida.com/content/download/70325/1635644/Beekeepers_and_Zika_1_pager_footer_2.pdf
To Our Membership:
What should you have available just in case you get a call that 24-48 hours from now your area will be subject to aerial spraying.
I hope everyone joins me in sharing some ideas. I have experienced having hives exposed to agricultural spraying - fortunately no harm was done. But I did take some precautions.
When notified, I went down the morning of the scheduled spraying (at dawn before the bees were flying) and locked them in. On some hives I used #8 HARDWARE CLOTH bent into a "U" to push into the entrance. This allowed for ventilation.
On other hives which had screened bottom boards I simply tacked a BLOCK OF WOOD over the entrance. I guess DUCT TAPE would also work.
For hydration and feed I placed internal FEEDERS inside the hives and filled them with a very THIN SYRUP. I was lucky I had enough frame feeders but a jar on top covered with an empty box would also have been sufficient.
I did not do anything else and this was sufficient for ground spraying on an agricultural field. IF I was expecting aerial spraying and IF I had the luxury of a few hives being at home I would cover with a 10'x10 POP UP TENT. OR I might cover with cheap SHEETS or cloth painter's TARPS. If the spraying was scheduled for that day I'd even probably wet down the cloth to assist with cooling.