Who is poisoning bees in the Northern Territory?

About 1 million bees dead in NT after suspected deliberate poisoning incident, according to the ABC.

You’ve really got to feel for beekeeper Sam Curtis. This September he lost about 1 million of his bees from his commercial apiary near Katherine in the Northern Territory. He also has had to dump the contents of the affected beehives, and is estimating losses at $20,000. He believes they have been deliberately killed – tests revealing that the boxes were sprayed inside and out with an insecticide for termites called Fipronil.

This is the second suspected poisoning of commercial bee boxes near Katherine in a year, with one beekeeper losing 120 beehives in November 2017! So who wants to kill millions of bees and hurt commercial beekeepers?

According to the ABC, Curtis suspects that the person responsible for the poisoning was someone who “doesn’t like bees”.

“Some people reckon it could be greenies because they think that [European] bees attack the native bee colonies, so they would try and kill the European species,” Mr Curtis said.

“Or it could be anyone related to the agriculture sector because Fipronil is a rather difficult chemical to come across.”

If these are the reasons behind the poisoning, they are misguided. The truth is we need honeybees to pollinate crops – Curtis notes that nearby melon growers may suffer from his bee loss too. Secondly, it is aggressive, feral honeybees that pose a risk to native bees, which many beekeepers do the hard work of removing and rehousing.

We certainly hope these hive poisonings don’t become a trend!


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