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Devastating Trade: Neurotoxin Spray Killed Harmful Mosquitoes But Exterminated Beneficial Bees

Sep 06, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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Neurotoxins sprayed in a town in South Carolina to kill Zika-carrying mosquitoes exterminate millions of bees.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In an effort to prevent further transmission of Zika virus, local officials in South Carolina decided to aerially spray a small area of the town Summerville with a powerful neurotoxins that could kill adult Zika-carrying mosquitoes. However, the drastic move of the local officials did not only kill off adult Aedes aeqypti mosquitoes but also exterminated millions of bees.

"We don't want one of those mosquitos having a blood meal on an individual we've already determined was positive," Dr Mike Weyman, head of the spraying program, told The Guardian in defense of their actions. "We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that [Zika] is up and running in Florida. If it gets in the mosquito population ... you're playing catch-up."

One of the heavily affected bee farms is owned by Juanita Stanley. She lost all 46 of her hives and about 3 million bees.

"Someone has a virus that they didn't get here, but what if, someday, maybe, they might?" Stanley said in a report from FOX 6 News. "Let's just go kill everything in case someone might get it? Where is the logic in that?"

The local protocol of South Carolina when it comes to Zika infection is to alert officials of the carrier's residence. Upon knowing where the "ground zero" is, they will then target the local mosquito population within a 200-yard radius.

The chemical used during the aerial spray is commonly known as Naled. Naled has been registered for use in the U.S. since 1959. It is a neurotoxin specifically used to target adult mosquitoes. However, Naled is also considered to be toxic to other insects, birds and fish. Furthermore, Naled is considered to cause skin and eye irritation in humans and is dangerous when ingested or inhaled.

At present, there are 46 cases of Zika infection in South Carolina. Of those, 45 were travel-related, while the remaining one case was sexually acquired.

Read:
Long-Term Wild Bee Decline in England Linked to Controversial Neonic Pesticide
Strange! Why Are Bees Getting Confused In Finding Their Food?
The World’s Bee Population is in Danger, and So is Our Future

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