Zika and Florida Beekeepers

A letter from the Florida Chief of Apiary Inspection, David Westervelt:

The Southeastern United States is in a triple threat situation for mosquito proliferation and control. Listed below are conditions making it favorable for the breeding and spread of viruses in mosquitoes:

  1. It is the season. The weather is perfect to be a mosquito and people are outside to feed on.
  2. Tropical storms and recent rains have increased breeding grounds.
  3. Zika and other viruses want a ride to a human host.

Conditions are ideal from the mosquito’s perspective. The weather is perfect. Human hosts are out everywhere. There are plenty of leaves to hide under to avoid aerial and truck spraying. There is standing water everywhere to breed in.

Florida’s population and beekeepers are not as fortunate. Human lives and health takes precedence so there is a dedicated effort to control vectoring mosquitoes. Governor Rick Scott and Commissioner Adam Putnam must dedicate efforts to protect people. There are measures the beekeeper can take including notifying mosquito control of hive locations and following UF EDIS suggestions to mitigate exposure. All of these resources are in the following four links:

Florida Commissioner Adam H. Putnam Issues Mosquito Declaration
Florida Mosquito Control Districts
Mosquito Control and Beekeepers EDIS ENY-149
Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides EDIS ENY-162

Please keep this in mind as we face the ever present challenges of beekeeping.