Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

@#$& Dangit! Zika knee jerk reaction spraying


There’s an elementary school about 600 yards up wind from my house that is surrounded by lovely privet.

These yahoos (with good but uneducated intentions) are spraying for mosquitoes despite the Zika virus not being present.

I wrote them and asked that they not spray April 30th as the privet flow will be in full force. They’re gonna kill my girls!



How about talking with a reporter from the newspaper, and reminding them about CCD and insecticide use? Might help… A bit… Maybe. Or not. :disappointed_relieved:


Worth a shot. 3 beeks that I know of w/in a mile of the school near me.


Rope them in too. A movement has more power than an individual :smile:


Can you get notice of when they are spraying and shut your bees in?
Provided they are kept shaded and cool they should be ok for a day.
The problem is that people panic and to most folk the danger of deformed children far outweighs a few bees.


Spraying for mosquitoes on blooming plants in the daytime is about two or three violations of the law (the label is the law). I would point that out. Unfortunately you probably can’t convince of the real truth which is that spraying maximizes the mosquitoes population by killing off all the predators…


@Michael_Bush the pesticide is Maverik

The owner of the pest control company is willing to have a Q&A with our club this Thursday.

Brave fella. Better to figure out a way to cooperate than to have the bad optics of killing off bees though eh?


The “mavrerick” insecticide (as opposed to the “maverick” herbacide) is Fluvalinate, the same as Apistan. Definitely not good for bees (it is an insecticide) but perhaps less immediately lethal to bees than some. However it builds up in the wax and is already at high levels in most hives because of contamination of the wax supply. The foundation you buy is already contaminated with it… and it already has detrimental effects on the fertility of drones and queens…


@Michael_Bush I know.
The following letter was written to the reporter. I cc’d the Superintendant of Schools and the district spokesperson.

I’m writing in reference to the April 16th article titled “Local company protecting children from Zika virus.”

The article raised particular concerns to me as I am a beekeeper and a Cherokee County elementary school is only about 800 feet away from my home in Ball Ground. I have 2 hives myself and I personally know of two other beekeepers who keep multiple hives less than 1.5 miles from Ball Ground Elementary as well. Also of concern was the motivation, need and photos of application that accompanied the article.
GrassRoots Tree and Turf Care’s efforts to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito which can carry the Zika virus (which no one in the entire country has contracted through a mosquito bite while in the U.S.: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html) is clearly unnecessary and subsequently could likely harm our local honeybee populations.

Bees travel quite a distance in search of pollen and nectar. Some “scout” bees can fly very long distances however, it is well known that bees tend to forage within 2.0 km (1.4 miles) of their hive if there are adequate, attractive resources in the vicinity (Pedersen et al. 1972; Osborne et al. 2001). If not though, they will readily travel farther.

As I am sure you are aware, Colony Collapse Disorder is a very real threat to bee colonies here in the US and while no one factor can solely be blamed for the cause of CCD, pesticides are pointed to as a major contributor.

The pesticide used by GrassRoots for mosquitoes goes by the brand name “Maverik.” (Label: http://www.centralgrower.com/uploads/products/MavrikSpecLabel.pdf)

The Maverik label states, “It is a violation of Federal Law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.” The label also states, with regard to honeybees, “Treat during non-foraging periods to minimize adverse effects.” It is evident in the images that accompany your article that the previous application at our county schools took place during the day which was during a bee foraging period. Bees forage virtually from sunup to sundown.
“It is known that the foraging activity of honey bees is initiated in early morning and finishes in the evening.”
(The foraging behaviour of honey bees, Apis mellifera: a review - H.F. Abou-Shaara)

Privet grows at the edge of most of our school property lines and it grows prolifically around Ball Ground Elementary. The shrubs being sprayed by GrassRoots in your article’s photos are indeed privet.
Privet is a major source of forage for bees here in Cherokee county and begins to bloom in April. GrassRoots’ next scheduled spraying is April 30th.
(http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Honeybees/ForageRegion.php?StReg=GA_11, http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/pollination/plants-year-round-forage.html)

The active ingredient in Maverik is tau-fluvalinate. Tau-fluvalinate is not excessively toxic in very small doses to honey bees, but fogging an entire area during foraging time, in foraging areas is absolutely enough to kill or stress the bees which makes them more susceptible to death from the other issues that bees deal with daily. Fogging entire areas, is not small doses. It is a direct liquid application.

Bees that are not killed directly by the ill-timed application will carry the residual pesticide back to the hive on both their bodies and in the pollen/nectar they collect where it then becomes embedded into the hives’ wax cells and honey which builds up over time. GrassRoots plans multiple treatments giving opportunity to increased exposure and increased embedding into the hive.

With regard to personal safety equipment (PPE) the Maverik label states:
All mixers, loaders, applicators and other handlers must wear:
• Long-sleeved shirt and long pants
• Shoes plus socks
• Chemical-resistant gloves, and
• A NIOSH approved respirator with a dust/mist filter
with MSHA/NIOSH approval number prefix TC-21C or
R, P, or HE filter.”
It clear that GrassRoots Tree and Turf Care has a clear disregard for both labeling instructions, and personal safety, as indicated in this photo.

While no one wants any harm to come to anyone from the Zika virus and that the stories we all see out of Latin America and the Caribbean are heartbreaking, it is evident that the Zika virus is not present in our U.S. mosquito population at this time,application instructions are not being followed and putting beneficial insects and local bee populations at risk, and personal safety procedures are not being followed as evidenced in the photos accompanying your article.
GrassRoots Tree and Turf Care’s efforts to “give back” by “protecting children from Zika virus” and trading mosquito abatement services at our county schools in exchange for the opportunity to send home literature with the over 40,000 students in Cherokee county can clearly be seen for what it is – an attempt to gain access to residential accounts through the incitement of fear by a company that, in violation of Federal law, does not follow application labeling instructions regarding honeybee foraging and disregards the personal safety of its employees.

I am cc’ing CCSD spokesperson Barbara Jacobi, School Board Attorney Tom Roach, and our new Superintendent, Dr. Brian V. Hightower in hopes that CCSD immediately halts the spraying given the demonstrable lack of need , the vendors’ inability to follow labeling instructions and the subsequent risks that improper spraying poses to beneficial pollinators and how that contributes to Colony Collapse Disorder.

Educating our students and families to utilize proper clothing, the use of safe personal deterrents that contain DEET and the eradication of mosquito breeding areas will prove far more effective and less negatively impactful.
Thank you,


Great letter, Bobby, I like it. I just hope that people are smart enough to read it, and care about bees more than they fear an unproven source of Zika.


Very nicely & professionally spoken Bobby! A knee jerk reaction is never a good thing.
To the “Officials” w/the CCSD: The Sky is n-o-t falling…
Together We Can.


The President of our county bee club has been in touch with the owner of GrassRoots and a Q&A is scheduled for this week’s meeting.

Our University of Georgia County Extension Agent will also be in attendance. He’s very pro-bee. UGA Extension is a county, state and federal funded organization supported by specialists in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

One of the beeks that lives near me, and who could possibly be affected sells his honey in 47 metro-Atlanta Publix supermarkets, a few others and at Amicalola Falls State Park. He’ll be there too.

I’m quite hopeful that all of this can be put to a stop. At least for the time being considering there is no present threat from Zika.


Sadly you can’t fix stupid. Even with brilliantly eloquent letters… Lock up the bees on spray days?


Could you invite the journalist? Just a thought.


@Dawn_SD I will, but not too long before the meeting.
I am going to contact television media first.


Nicely written. Good luck.


Wow. Just a little over a month ago I had nary a bee. Look at me now.
Change is good.


Another letter was written to a school board member from one of our beekeeping club’s board members.
Turns out they are friends and the school board member used to be a beekeeper!

The School Board was not aware any of this spraying was going on (not really part of their oversight) but they sure can have a stop put to it.

I am sharing this as I am sure may of you will be faced with similar situations as the hysteria over Zika is capitalized on by pest control services. The wording and resources in these letters could prove valuable to you.

Hello xxxx,
It was good to speak with you today. This email is in reference to what we discussed about the ongoing mosquito spraying on Cherokee County School District properties and how the indiscriminate spraying of the insecticide could potentially and severely impact our friend and necessary pollinator, the honey bee.

As a current Board member and a past President of the Cherokee Beekeeper’s Club, I have fielded quite a few calls, emails, and Cherokee Bee Club (CBC) Facebook group posts in regards to the article that was published in the Cherokee Ledger News on April 16th; titled “Local company protecting children from Zika virus”. http://goo.gl/tObyFB .

Apparently GrassRoots Tree and Turf Care made a deal with someone at the school district to spray all school sites for mosquitoes, across Cherokee County, in exchange for sending “information” home with each student, presumably to drum up business for the company’s new branch of mosquito control services “NoSkeetoz” http://www.grassrootsturf.com/NoSkeetoz .

The concern at hand is the fact that they are spraying a wide spectrum insecticide during the day and during foraging hours for Georgia’s pollinators, including the honey bee. The chemical insecticide that they are using is produced under the brand name of Mavrik and it is made up of tau-fluvalinate; a derivative of pyrethrin insecticides which in its natural form is highly toxic to honey bees. While tau-fluvalinate has been modified to be less toxic to pollinators in extremely small doses, spraying and fogging large areas of vegetation with gallons of this insecticide is toxic to the honey bee and while it may not immediately kill the bee, the insecticide finds its way back to the hives in pollen and nectar from flowers that have been contaminated and it is then fed to the rest of the hive and is absorbed into the wax and honey; weakening the hive. As you know, beekeepers have been fighting colony collapse disorder (CCD) since before 2006, where large amounts of bees are being stressed by pesticides and other factors and are dying in large numbers. In various studies, it has been determined that pesticides are playing a very large part in their collapse.

While we are cognizant of many mosquito borne diseases throughout the world, Zika virus has not been transmitted by a mosquito to anyone inside the continental United States at this time. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html The cases of Zika virus within the continental United States have been from people that have contracted the disease in far away places or through sexual transmission with someone that already had the virus.
We do believe that mosquito prevention is important but there are many more environmentally friendly ways of treating for them without endangering pollinators or children with wide spectrum pesticides. These routes of prevention include ridding all areas of potential standing water, keeping grass cut short, and keeping bushes trimmed. Even water that may accumulate for short periods of time can be breeding grounds, as it only takes seven days for a mosquito to go from egg to larvae to adult. If water, as in retention ponds or bird baths, is not able to be drained in a timely manner, it can be treated with a larvicide, which is not harmful in any way to insects that we don’t want to kill. If fogging/spraying must be done, it should be done no more than one hour before dark to allow dry time before foraging and not applied to flowering vegetation. Spraying should come as a last resort and not as a form of prevention.

The Cherokee Beekeeper’s Club has around 120 member families that live within Cherokee County. Honey bees fly from 1.4 to 3 miles in each direction from a hive (6+ mile radius) to forage for pollen and nectar. As you can imagine, one would be hard pressed to find an area within Cherokee County that is not within the flight path of the bees from one of our member beekeepers. http://www.ent.uga.edu/.../plants-year-round-forage.html http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Hone.../ForageRegion.phphttp://vri.cz/docs/vetmed/59-1-1.pdf
I have also attached several items or talking points to this email including notes regarding this situation, made by our very own Cherokee County Extension Agent, Joshua Fuder, the Mavrik pesticide label, the recently created State Plan for Protecting Georgia’s Pollinators (UGA & GA Department of Agriculture), and the Commercial and Government Agency Mosquito Control Guidelines. Mr. Fuder invites the School Board to contact him with any questions at 770-721-7803 or by email at jfuder@uga.edu . You are also welcome to contact me with any questions at any time at 770-639-0868 or by email at RyanSarks@gmail.com .


Thank you again for your time and attention to this matter!


“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.” - Abraham Lincoln

“Life is a coin. You can spend it anyway you wish, but you can only spend it once.” -Unknown

“Faith sees the Invisible, believes the Incredible, and receives the Impossible.” -Unknown


Well, the story made the TV news as well. I hate hysteria.


I got a response from the School District. It’s a mild brush off.

I need beekeepers from around the world to call this spraying out for what it is: Unnecessary (No Zika here!) and detrimental to our pollinators!

Mr. Thanepohn,

Thank you for sharing your concerns.

CCSD was not contacted by the Cherokee Tribune about the article in question. Had we been contacted, we would have corrected the comment stating materials would be sent home with students… CCSD is not sending any materials home with students, as that would violate School Board Policy prohibiting such marketing.

Following the receipt of your email, the Superintendent immediately halted the service to allow for CCSD investigation.

Assistant Superintendent Bill Sebring this morning met with the company owner and partners, who explained that your concerns appear to stem from the Tribune’s use of a stock photo. This stock photo from the company’s website (of treatment in a Cobb County neighborhood) shows a treatment style and chemical different than what is occurring at CCSD schools. The treatment at CCSD schools uses chemicals not associated with bee colony collapse, and the application is on the ground in areas where water collects… not onto flowering plants and shrubs that bees frequent. All CCSD schools received an initial application during spring break; inspection and follow-up applications are scheduled to begin April 30… all applications are conducted outside of school hours.

The owner informed Mr. Sebring that they had been in contact with you to provide you with accurate information and assistance; the company also is attending a meeting with local beekeepers tomorrow to answer their questions.

Social media is great - use it!

We saved the bees!