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Author Topic: Pesticide Liability  (Read 4070 times)
arco
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« on: August 02, 2007, 10:22:46 AM »

My bees have been nearly wiped out by pesticides spread on my property by our county 'insect control' agency.

The county agency acts like I am the one at fault.   angry  Their job is to kill insects, after all...

I would like to take them to court, to sue them and prevent them from spreading poison chemicals on my property, to prevent further ecological harm to our region, and to prevent them from causing further reckless damage to my property and others.

I am really upset by the damage the county has caused, and by their reckless and callous attitude.

Have beekeepers ever successfully sued for damages caused by pesticides? 
What are the key points I should take into account in preparing to take a suit against the county? 
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2007, 10:46:43 AM »

Quote
I would like to take them to court, to sue them and prevent them from spreading poison chemicals on my property, to prevent further ecological harm to our region, and to prevent them from causing further reckless damage to my property and others.

yes, west nile is so much better....

you have a loss caused most likely by lack of consideration, not malice.  i am guessing that if you were to call the agency doing the spraying, they'd tell you that they waited until the bees brought in for pollination were removed.  it probably never occurred to them that there are backyard beekeepers.  they work in an office.

if i were facing the same situation.....i would write letters to all the agencies involved, farm groups, your mayor and congressman, etc.  NO EMAIL.  i would be polite.  explain the circumstances and your loss.  ask if there is a contact list that you can be added to in the event of future spraying.  ask if there is a policy for letting the public know that spraying is going to be done.

when i have lived in areas that spray, they have notified the public so that those with respiratory problems, etc. can be indoors.  pet water, etc. covered. 

your loss is unfortunate for you, but it would be better to make sure there is a way to keep this from happening again, than to spend time and money in court and perhaps accomplish nothing....at least in the near future.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
arco
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2007, 11:05:21 AM »

Let me ask again: does anyone know if beekeepers have ever successfully sued for damages caused by pesticides??
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arco
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2007, 01:45:26 PM »

OK I have again contacted my local pest control agency and they have told me they have not sprayed in my area.  They were helpful, and explained to me some of the processes they use to mitigate the dangers that arise when they spray over urban areas.

So I believe the damage is coming from some other source.

I have also found out that there are indeed many many precedents for bringing cases for pesticide-related damages.

To kathyp - the sweet and nice approach is fine - and I agree that it is best to start that way.  But if the party is causing damage, and isn't responsive, then I would use the courts.  It is not difficult, and even a losing suit will raise awareness and cause behavior change.

Anyway - my bees are still dying and I hope I can figure out the cause and stop it.
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2007, 01:50:02 PM »

Let me ask again: does anyone know if beekeepers have ever successfully sued for damages caused by pesticides??

In private (i.e, non-governmental) scenarios, definitely:
Quote
a land possessor with actual knowledge or notice of foraging honey bees on the property comes under a duty of reasonable care in the application of pesticides;

but vs big brother?  That's more difficult.  tongue  Do a search on Anderson v. State Department of Natural Resources
Minnesota
.

Best of luck to you!
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Casimir
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2007, 02:10:07 PM »

I agree with kathyp. You would have spent a large amount of time and money going to court and through the appeals process. And in the end you would probably lose unless you could show that they sprayed to much or something.
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kathyp
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2007, 03:04:03 PM »

Quote
sweet and nice
   i am fairly certain that those two words have never been uttered in reference to anything about me  smiley

i truly detest the impulse to sue someone at the first sign of trouble.  sometimes SH, and sometimes people cause bad things and it still falls under the SH rule.  going to court may be needed sometimes, but in my book it comes behind 'talk to them' and 'shoot them'.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
randydrivesabus
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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2007, 03:07:55 PM »

so what is the monetary value of the bees in the hive? how would you prove your loss in $'s?
hope you figure out what is killing them.
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imabkpr
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2007, 05:01:01 PM »

 I agree with kathyp, we don't need anymore sue crazy people in this world, we already have enough. Look twice- Jump once. 

I lost 130 colonies of bees last year to cotton spray and what i think was or is a contaminated water source.  Charlie
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arco
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« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2007, 05:29:28 PM »

kathyp - I don't know what the SH rule is...
imabkpr - if you want to let people walk all over you, that is fine with me
randydrives - not much $$$ outlay - but it's not just about $$$

I am surprised that you are offended by my readyness to sue and don't seem to mind much that someone decimated my bees!

On another subject - I was advised by an experienced local beekeeper that the pesticide likely came from someone in the neighborhood - that you can buy powerful stuff at the garden center and it is difficult/impossible to trace.  He thinks that the best long-term approach would be to lobby the legislature to only let dangerous pesticides into the hands of licensed operators.

What do you all think of that??


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kathyp
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« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2007, 05:58:12 PM »

Quote
He thinks that the best long-term approach would be to lobby the legislature to only let dangerous pesticides into the hands of licensed operators

why not?  what's a little more government regulation in your life?
sounds like the socialist state i know an love. that's ok.  my state is not far behind.

SH=sh** happens.  i fear that the board will keep me from spelling out the **, but i suspect you can figure it out.

please don't take my observations personally.  as i get older, i am slipping past libertarian without a pause into anarchism.  i fail to understand a world that thinks listening to bad guys is an infringement on our liberties, yet being told where you can smoke, what you can eat, what waterproofing or bug spray you can use, and cameras on every corner, is a good thing.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Dane Bramage
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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2007, 06:12:00 PM »

I don't see the original poster polling the forum for opinions regarding advice on if legal proceedings would be necessary, appropriate, ethical, etc.,. Nor does it appear he is inquiring for opinions about one who might make use of the public court system as remedy for damages incurred.   Yet it seems the thread has derailed a bit and I, although also not asked, feel compelled to defend his statements as perfectly reasonable. 

To wit:

His first post, regarding a grievance with a state agency, stated: "I would like to take them to court, to sue them and prevent them from spreading poison chemicals on my property, to prevent further ecological harm to our region, and to prevent them from causing further reckless damage to my property and others."   In addition to defending his property rights,  I think a large group of people make donations to organizations who's mission statement is same.  cool

Then he wrote in reply: "...the sweet and nice approach is fine - and I agree that it is best to start that way.  But if the party is causing damage, and isn't responsive, then I would use the courts."   Reads as though the courts would be the last resort and, even then, a large percentage of cases are settled before they go to trial.

If you're opinion is that you'd rather have toxins dumped on you & yours, take losses of personal property and leave the public (provided and paid for by you) court system as an unacceptable remedy of last resort due to your concern lest the world become overrun with "sue crazy" people, feelings towards other's problem resolution methods, political leanings,  etc., I say - that's your prerogative. (but I'd keep it a secret if I were you, unless asked... would be polite, well.. even then ~> Lips Sealed.)

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kathyp
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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2007, 06:16:34 PM »

once again i must thank you dane for pointing our my (our) errors.  what were we thinking, expressing our opinions?
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Dane Bramage
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« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2007, 06:29:33 PM »

once again i must thank you dane for pointing our my (our) errors.  what were we thinking, expressing our opinions?

Hey - I'm here to help.   Kiss  [Dane enters into evidence the attempt to provide concise and opinion-free answers to arco's questions on first reply this thread]   afro   
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kathyp
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« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2007, 07:49:58 PM »

hey, i am a bit cranky, but i had my shots today so i am not rabid  smiley

i think there is wine in the ice box.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
imabkpr
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« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2007, 09:34:10 PM »

 Aren't all answers someones opinion?  If we are going to sue somebody or someone lets be sure they are guilty and not like our system of today.
Guilty until proven inocent.  Charlie
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Casimir
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« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2007, 11:41:45 PM »

He thinks that the best long-term approach would be to lobby the legislature to only let dangerous pesticides into the hands of licensed operators.

What do you all think of that??

I agree. They sell too toxic of chemicals at stores. While some people are against it, putting such deadly chemicals in people's hands is bound to cause problems.
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JP
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« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2007, 12:19:12 AM »

There is a new type of mosquito control contraption at least in our state (La) that I am very much against. It consists of a type of pyrethrin in a 55gallon drum, with some sort of mister on a timer. A pest control co. sets it up and monitors it on a monthly basis. I had someone approach me with the idea and I adamently expressed my disfavor. Hope that you don't have this in your area.
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Casimir
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« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2007, 01:39:19 AM »

I found two sites were they will install those misters in your backyard. Imagine one of your neighbors installing one of these.
http://www.mosquitonix.com/
http://www.mosquitomanagement.com/

Here is article that points out how pointless and damaging these things are (scroll down to Home misting systems under SAVE YOUR MONEY).
http://realestate.msn.com/lawns/Article2.aspx?cp-documentid=5189628
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arco
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« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2007, 02:00:10 PM »

I talked to another experienced beekeeper today and explained what I have seen:
- the bees were very healthy and robust
- suddenly they started dying at a very rapid rate
- the dead bees are piling up under the hive

I explained that I didn't think the problem was a parasite - since the die-off would have ramped more slowly.  He agreed.

He told me that the bees likely have been hit by a 'residual' pesticide, that stays on the flower after it has been sprayed.  Mosquito control poisons apparently are not residual, and they dissapate quickly.

An example residual pesticide, he explained, is malathion, which stays toxic on the blossom for 3-4 days.  There are other residual pesticides that stay active for 3-4 weeks (he didn't know the names of these types)

The residual poison doesn't kill the bee immediately.  Rather, what happens is that the bee picks up the poison, carries it back to the hive, and spreads it around within the hive.  Then the bees get sick and die in the hive. 

This is what I am seeing.

He expects that the poison will continue working until my hive is completely dead, and that I will have to start from scratch with new bees again next year.

So - does this 'residual pesticide' theory make sense?


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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2007, 02:11:49 PM »

So - does this 'residual pesticide' theory make sense?


Yes indeed.  Check it out ~> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticide_toxicity_to_bees
e.g.
Quote
By far the most potentially damaging pesticides for honey bees are those packaged in tiny capsules (microencapsulated). Microencapsulated methyl parathion (PennCap M®), for example, is a liquid formulation containing capsules approximately the size of pollen grains which contain the active ingredient. When bees are out in the field, these capsules can become attached electrostatically to the pollen-collecting hairs of the insects, and at times are collected by design. When stored in pollen, the slow-release feature of the capsules allows the methyl parathion to be a potential killer for several months. At the present time, there is no way to detect whether bees are indeed poisoned by micro-encapsulated methyl parathion, so a beekeeper potentially could lose replacement bees for those already poisoned by the pesticide.
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LocustHoney
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« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2007, 06:48:10 PM »

I think some of us would feel different if it were our bees dying off..... Cry
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Casimir
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« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2007, 08:01:23 PM »

Mosquito control poisons apparently are not residual, and they dissapate quickly.

So - does this 'residual pesticide' theory make sense?


From a mosquito control website. "In general, the chemical can be gone within 15 minutes of application or last almost 4 hours after application."
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wayne
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« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2007, 09:15:18 PM »

  As a former pesticide applicator, I can assure you there are a metric ton of rules and laws both state and federal that cover the use of pesticides.
  And that just about everyone who applies them for money has rules and policies to reduce the risk of the damage you are seeing.
  However, that said, no one is a mind reader when it comes to knowing what's behind every fence and hedge. When I worked for the county on mosquitos we had no spray zones for beekeepers who called in and signed up. But it was up to the beek to call in.
  When I was in private employment we asked the customer about things like bee hives and allergies before we chose a product. But we had no way of knowing if they told the truth or even knew themselves.
  Unless you have a sign in plain view, and it is common knowledge you keep bees, or you have contacted the local agencies and told them of your hobby, then they have no way of knowing they are there.
  I remember on one of my mosquito routes I was spraying along a rural road and happened to look back at a house I had passed. There tucked in behind a row of bushes was a beehive not 30 feet off the road. I had about a half dozen no sprays on that route but no mention of this hive.
  They tell you in pesticide schools that the lable is the law. To use any product in a manner not shown on the lable is ilegal. If you have the money, you can have the bees tested and find out what killed them. Then check the neighbors and see who had a bug problem. Then you have a target for your lawsuit, or someone to report to the proper agency.
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beehive lane
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« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2007, 12:38:41 AM »

What about the double whammy of herbacides added to the pesticides? I need to talk to my neighbor up the lane. He is shooting turtles in the pond and putting herbacides on everything. I wanted to plant flowers by our postboxes, he didnt like to weedwhack....herbacide. The fence had weeds...herbacide. Well, hey, chemicals worked for our parents. His garden is near the lane, his garden is nearly dead. his poultry was near the fence, dead....HuhHuh?? His pond is the begining of the stream that runs through our property. Connected to him are countless number of people that pollute with chemicals. Where and how does it end. I will talk to him, and I will register with the county and city. Maybe the masses will get it. Maybe they wont. I have a fortune from a fortune cookie framed, it  reads "follow your true beliefs."  ----Syd
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Syd
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« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2007, 07:39:37 AM »

Good ponit Sid. It is like the organic stuff I try to eat. If you do some research on the organic farms the food comes form you will find out that only a percentage of the farm is organic. The rest....regular ol' pesticide produce. What happens when the rain comes and washes off the pesticide from the one into the other??? Nothing. As long as they don't treat the one they claim is organic all is well. That is a bunch or crap if you ask me!!! I am with you. I would like to start a mass movement. They only way to do that now-a-days is to do it with your pocketbook. Do some research and buy from those whose farms are all organic. Not the 10 to 60 percent fly by nighters!!!
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steve
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« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2007, 09:05:48 AM »

Arco, you're off to a good start, do your research first....
  Make sure you really have pesticide poisoning, invite one of your state bee inspectors out to assay the damage and possible
 determine the offending chemical....if it is indeed pesticide
poisoning remember you have roughly a 2.5 mile radius from your hives to search. Also the burden of proof is on you...
                                                      good luck,
                                                              Steve
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2007, 09:34:33 AM »

Meanwhile, West Nile is now officially @ epidemic levels & Gov. declares West Nile emergency in three California counties

Quote
In Sacramento County, authorities said Monday that West Nile had reached an epidemic rate there and had to be combatted with a mass aerial-spraying campaign – often considered a last resort. More than 55,000 acres of urban neighborhoods north of the American River were scheduled to be sprayed.


Again, good luck!
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kathyp
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« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2007, 10:18:57 AM »

you guys are right about the over use of pesticides and herbicides.  it is tempting, especially as we get older, to spray roundup rather than weed whack or mow.  it is also tempting to fall back on old pesticides without trying other ways of insect control.

on the other hand......all things in moderation...including the so called 'organic' and 'all natural' ways of doing things.  we do not want to end up like many countries where malaria is common, people go blind from parasites, liver flukes and tape worms are the norm, and our food is covered with flies and maggots.  most of us have never seen this and certainly not experienced it.  the difference between how they live (bug wise) and how we live, is pesticides.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
arco
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« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2007, 12:46:45 PM »

So - does this 'residual pesticide' theory make sense?

Yes indeed.  Check it out ~> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticide_toxicity_to_bees
e.g.
Quote
By far the most potentially damaging pesticides for honey bees are those packaged in tiny capsules (microencapsulated). Microencapsulated methyl parathion (PennCap M®), for example, is a liquid formulation containing capsules approximately the size of pollen grains which contain the active ingredient. When bees are out in the field, these capsules can become attached electrostatically to the pollen-collecting hairs of the insects, and at times are collected by design. When stored in pollen, the slow-release feature of the capsules allows the methyl parathion to be a potential killer for several months. At the present time, there is no way to detect whether bees are indeed poisoned by micro-encapsulated methyl parathion, so a beekeeper potentially could lose replacement bees for those already poisoned by the pesticide.

I have looked at Dane's link - it contains some pretty grim information - and the pesticide effects it describes match what I am seeing in my hive. 

Is there a legitimate need for slow-release pesticides like micro-encapsulated methyl parathion??  Is there any way to determine with certainty the type of pesticide that is killing my bees??  (our county agriculture dept doesn't have the equipment for this type of analysis)

My bees are continuing to die and I think my hive is a goner.  I opened the hive today, and saw the queen stumbling about like she is on her last legs.

It looks as if the pesticide was spread by a neighbor - it could be anyone within a mile radius of my house.  I live in an urban area - there may be a thousand or more houses within the bees range.  I don't see how I can trace the poisoning to the source.

So I am preparing for the end of my hive and thinking about getting things ready for next season. 

Right now I've got two supers full of honey.  And two hive bodies full of brood, pollen and honey.  What do I do with these?

Will the combs still be toxic next spring when I introduce a new package??

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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2007, 01:20:06 PM »

That is disheartening news arco.  Cry

I (thankfully) have no experience with insecticide poisoning/decontamination, so don't have any answers for you.  I believe you are correct that it would be nigh impossible to locate the source in an urban environment.  I would strongly consider relocation of the hives to a more environmentally friendly locale.  A friend of mine in San Mateo had mentioned someone keeping bees in the Crystal Springs reservoir/reserve.  Unsure what contacts/friends would be required to make that happen, but it sure would be the ticket!

"23,000 acres of wild and pristine lands" just up the road from you.

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kathyp
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« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2007, 02:06:06 PM »

Quote
Will the combs still be toxic next spring when I introduce a new package??

that's a good question. if i had to make that decision, i think i'd start over.  if the bees were collecting from contaminated sources and you don't know what the contaminate was, there is no way to be sure that the comb, pollen, and honey would be ok for next year.

wondered if you had a beekeeping group in your area? they might be able to point you in the right direction for testing and advice on what to do.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2007, 05:09:37 PM by kathyp » Logged

.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
pdmattox
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« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2007, 04:54:39 PM »

can this hive be relocated?  some irogant person might be doing the spraying because they dont like the bees or something.
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arco
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« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2007, 09:49:57 PM »

Unfortunately it is not easy to move the hives to another location.



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