Aerial spraying to combat EEE has Bee Keepers concerned

NOW: Aerial spraying to combat EEE has Bee Keepers concerned

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. -- With expected aerial sprays of insecticide aimed at killing mosquitoes carrying EEE, bee keepers in Elkhart County are taking precautions.

“I depend on the bees for my income," said owner of Mitchells Honey Farm, Ethan Mitchell.

Mitchell is one of many bee keepers living in Elkhart County.

With the news of the aerial sprays of insecticide schedule for parts of the county Wednesday night to kill mosquitoes carrying EEE, he’s had to make some changes.

“I got mixed emotions about it, i understand why they’re doing it. But at the same time, it also hurts not just the bees but other pollinators in the area," said Mitchell.

Over 80 of his 600 beehives were located under one of the zones set to receive the aerial spraying.

Mitchell's Honey Company has relocated about 64 of their beehives you see behind me, but they’ve left about 20 in their previous location set to be sprayed test to things out.

"I want to see what it does to the bees. Because of they have to spray in the spring or summer, i can’t move that many hives with honey on them," said Mitchell. 

Dibrom is the chemical that Elkhart County is using.

According to the Indiana Department of Health, Dibrom is toxic to bees and can kill them immediately

“This time if something would majorly happen to the bees, they wouldn’t have time to recuperate their population before winter hits, which is really nerve-racking," said Mitchell.

Each hive costs about $200 dollars. Had he not moved this group of bees, Mitchell says he would’ve lost upwards of $20,000 dollars.

“Try to give us as much notice as you can. If this is just beginning, for like next year if they have to spray for spring or summer. I'm going to be a lot more nervous about that.”

The good thing here is that bees are usually in their hives by around 4 o'clock.

The spraying, weather permitting, will begin around 5 o’clock, and once the sun comes up the insecticide will be dissipated before bees come back out.

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