Beekeeper concerned after Dorchester County announces plans to make change in mosquito spraying notification policy

Dorchester County News

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – One local beekeeper says he is concerned after changes were made to Dorchester County mosquito spraying notification policies by local lawmakers.

At the May 20th Dorchester County Council meeting, council members unanimously decided to discontinue mosquito spraying notifications that are sent to people and businesses who were registered to receive them. Instead, the county will continue to comply with the state regulation regarding notifications of spraying, outlined in which states:

For non-commercial applicators only, or for commercial applicators making applicators for and under the direct supervision of a governmental entity, the disclosure requirements of the above Sections may be met by announcement or publication of the nature and timing of pesticide applications in the appropriate mass media outlets not less than 24 hours prior to the application.

Beekeepers have been receiving mosquito spray notification calls from Dorchester County ever since millions of bees were killed in August 2016. The bees died after an aerial mosquito spraying was conducted. The Department of Pesticide Regulation investigated and determined that no violations occurred as a result of the spraying application. Since 2016, the county has been conducting ground mosquito spraying.

President of Charleston Community Bee Gardens Jim Strohm says he is concerned because beekeepers will not directly receive notifications about the spraying of insecticides.

“They’re telling people about it, but indirectly. In other words, the onus is on the beekeeper to find out when they’re spraying,” he said. “In other words, I have to go to either the county website or stay tuned to the TV stations.”

He says he is worried more bees could be killed if beekeepers are not closely monitoring media outlets or the county website.

“I’m very concerned because we are going down the exact same path [as in 2016]. We haven’t learned anything from the previous lessons,” said Strohm.

Dorchester County was not able to clarify why the change was made because of ongoing litigation related to mosquito spraying.

The change in spraying notifications will become effective on Aug. 5. Personal notifications have been mailed to all residents/businesses registered with the county, notifying them of this change.

The Dorchester County mosquito ground spray schedule is posted on its website. It is updated every two weeks.

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