NC beekeeper mystified by massive kill at hive

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – A South Charlotte man is trying to crack the case of a massive kill that happened at his beehive, but he doesn’t think someone did it intentionally.

Even on a rainy day, the bees at Richard Cousins’ hives are still at work. There are a lot of them there, but not as much as there used to be.

“Those two boxes will hold around 80,000 bees each, so 160,000 bees,” Cousins told FOX 46.

Cousins took video last week of his bees in action, but within days he says, roughly, 20,000 to 30,000 of them were dead.

“This is a mass killing of bees,” Cousins said.

Cousins doesn’t think anyone targeted his bee boxes. It’s important to note, however, that he is among hundreds across the county and thousands across both North and South Carolina, that beekeepers and many do it without their neighbors realizing it.

“Year after year, we have in excess of 150 people signing up every year to become new beekeepers,” said Craig Veazey with the Mecklenburg County Beekeepers Association.

He says communication is the big key, not only for beekeepers, but also for those in the neighborhood planning to spray for insects and weeds.

“The biggest concern is that if there’s a mosquito spraying that’s happening next door or a few doors down, it can have a tremendous impact on your hive,” Veazey said.

Cousins does think the big bee kill might be due to some neighborhood lawn work and people wanting to get rid of weeds and bugs on their own property and even though it’s a hobby, it’s not cheap.

“People around them have to realize that they can’t be spraying their yard with insecticide,” Cousins said. “You can’t put Sevin dust on your plants because bees may land on those plants.”

He’s going to let his hives try to get back to normal, but if he can’t, it might involve an investment in a new swarm, which can run into the hundreds of dollars.

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