Beekeepers taking precautions before mosquito aerial spraying begins

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Aerial mosquito sprayings in Charleston County will start soon.

The aerial spraying aims to kill the mosquitoes, but for beekeepers if they don't heed the warning it can decimate their hives.

There's a no-fly list beekeepers can be on, or get a call ahead of time.

One Berkeley County beekeeper said it can be the difference in preparing your hive, or killing thousands of bees in just one spray.

"The only real fear is from aerial," said Craig Johnson. "Just a few years ago it happened in Summerville when they got sprayed by aerial and they lost hundreds of hives."

Johnson does beekeeping as a hobby, and said he has between 100,000 to 150,000 bees and knows it's up to him to keep them protected.

"I think the important thing is if we have warning as beekeepers, then we can take precaution to lock them up, put blankets over them, screen over the entrance so that if the planes do come over they're already protected," said Johnson.

Johnson said he gets 24 to 48 hours notice before the aerial spraying begins, but also takes a second precaution.

"I'm supposed to be in a no spray zone so the pilot will shut off the sprayer when he comes over my property," said Johnson.

Johnson said by does his part to protect his bees.

"So much relies on bees, just as far as what we buy," said Johnson. "So much relies on pollinators, and if there's no pollinators obviously our food supply goes down and prices go way up."

Here's information if you are a beekeeper in Dorchester County.

If you live in Berkeley County and are a Beekeeper, organic farmer, or have questions about mosquito control call the Berkeley County Mosquito Abatement office at 843-719-4646.

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