My beeyard was sprayed with malathion!
The landowner, called me in tears. A county spray plane sprayed their property. The beeyard was wet with spray. Direct hit!
She hadn’t been told about the spraying, And was surprised, shocked, and offered to pay for the bees.
That’s no small offer. Money doesn’t come easily in Wyoming agriculture. And it’s been a tougher than normal grasshopper plagued year.
Yet, the landowners were concerned about me and my bees. They were willing to make a personal sacrifice, even though they weren’t personally responsible.
Have you meet anyone like that! If so, they are as rare and special.
The grasshopper sprayers were done, as the hoppers are now too large to spray.
But the Natrona County Health Department is protecting us from the West Nile Virus. And in the process was spraying selective areas. I moved my bees there.
I was shocked! Spraying for mosquitoes? The temps are at or above 100 degrees. And with 30 mph wind, things are dead bone dry.
It’s been so dry, hot and windy, that it’s foolish to use a smoker while in the beeyard. I’m just thankful for a little running water near my hives. Without it, my bees would have become crispy by now.
There is no standing water anywhere near my bees. And I haven’t even seen a mosquito this year, let alone been bit by one. Thank heavens our health department is protecting us. 🙂
But I shouldn’t be too hard on them. I talked with the field manager. Sounds like a conscientious guy. He’s been actively working with the commercial beekeepers to limit damage.
Spraying times are scheduled to avoid spraying bees. And directly spraying beeyards is avoided when the locations are known.
Unfortunately, they didn’t know about my new beeyard. And I, nor the landowners knew about their program.
Sounds like I’m the first hobby beekeeper he’s encountered. He thought he had all his bases covered by talking with the commercial guys.
Maybe Healthier Now Than Earlier
What a difference. Forty years ago, I was working a large commercial beeyard. Lots of white boxes. A big bee truck. Bee smokers abundantly used. And this beekeeper had on a white bee suit.
A spray plane made a pass on a nearby field and terminated his first run by banking directly over me. I looked up his wing and saw him looking directly down it at me in shock. Then the spray covered both me and the bees. I retreated to the truck dazed.
Second pass, he banked the other way. But the overspray still got the beeyard and got me again. Now I’m upset!
Third pass, the beeyard gets covered by his drift. Now I’m not only covered in malathion, I’m furious. If I had a gun, I’d a shot him out of the sky!
Turns out I was lucky.
Those were some of the hottest bees I’ve ever worked. And under the right conditions they were a match for a riled up Africanized hive. We would suit up in two layers of clothing and a beesuit. All seams, joints, openings were sown or taped shut. As a consequence my exposure was minimal. The bees didn’t make it. But this beekeeper did.
Recourse for the loss? In those days none.
Are my bees still alive? Are the hive populations below what can over winter? Have the bees escaped relatively unscathed? I don’t know. And I won’t for a few days.
It’s that time of year in Wyoming. Time to knock the bees down and get them setup for winter. That’s what I’d planned to do this weekend. The beeyard will probably look much different than I’d planned. But with some luck, maybe not much different.
I’ll let you know.