Palm Beach County: Killing Vital Bees With Naled Insecticide

Naled insecticide is killing bees in Boca Raton

You may have heard that bees populations are dropping, especially in Florida. This is true. It’s preventable, but Palm Beach County isn’t doing what’s right. The insecticide chosen to kill mosquitoes is deadly to bees. The county knows this, but the killing goes on.

Pollinators are a critical component in our food chain. Bees are pollinators that are dropping in alarming numbers.  Despite numbers of these essential insects dropping in Florida, insecticides are being sprayed over bee populations without regard for the deaths caused. This reckless disregard for the fate of bees is yet another callous indication of how today’s county leaders feel about Nature and residents.

The insecticide used by the county, in their approach to mosquito control, is called Naled. It’s proven to be toxic to bees. In spite of its toxicity and the knowledge of the dwindling numbers of pollinators, this is the insecticide the county chooses to spray from above. 

Are there alternatives that the county could use in-lieu of Naled? Of course. Biological control methods are far more selective towards mosquitoes. There’s Basillus thuringiensis israelensis, described as a “natural pathogen of mosquito larvae”. There’s also an approach used that involves genetically modifying mosquitoes and releasing them to mix with the wild mosquito population. The Keys just approved the release of 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes.

This spraying of Naled only impacts property west of Military Trail. Property east of Military doesn’t receive aerial spraying. Mosquitoes, however, don’t stop at Military. They extend east, living and breeding wherever they can. Bees don’t understand this boundary either and unfortunately choose locations west of Military as their home.

While bees that are in formal hive-boxes, provided by beekeeping human beings, they are somewhat protected from aerial spraying. Being inside a hive box protects them from being doused with a deadly rain from above. Some bees aren’t as lucky. Their hives may be in trees where a large majority of the bees are exposed to the spray. A direct hit to one of these unprotected hives can kill all the bees. Naled doesn’t disappear immediately. It lands on flowers and in water sources used by the bees to drink. Naled gets the bees when they venture out, and land on vegetation coated in the insecticide. If they don’t die immediately then they may collect nectar from flowers contaminated in Naled and bring the poison nectar back to the hive.

While a hive may not die immediately from being exposed to Naled, the hive may be weakened beyond recovery. A weak hive cannot defend itself against pests like mites and wax beetles.

Please tell your county officials you will not tolerate the needless death of insects we depend on. Please tell them to stop using Naled in Mosquito Control’s aerial spraying program. It’s not an either/or issue.  We can control mosquitoes without hurting the bees.

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  1. I appreciate your comments – the release of the genetically modified mosquitoes is a first-time intervention, if I am not mistaken. Some assessment of its efficacy and undesired effects would be appropriate – probably why it was done first in the keys as there is relatvely little risk of spread of mosquitoes outside the region due to the island nature.

    Thoroughly agree with using B.T.israelli as an intervention. I just don’t have enough knowledge to assess whether it is sufficient for control on its own.

  2. I live in Boynton Beach Blvd west of Millitary Rd and on Saturday November 28 2020 thousands of my bees died and I can barely see any alive and able to fly.

    This pesticide is extremely toxic, and thousands of bees were rolling on the ground in agony.

    This action was totally irresponsible from our county who should have notify us they are poisoning the air so that we can stay indoors and keep our pets safe.

    We were outdoors with the kids and family enjoying a beautiful evening while the airplane was poisoning us. Both me and my wife were sick the whole day.

    Why can’t they send emergency alerts to our phones when this is happening?

  3. I wanted to add an update after 4 days of agonizing death for my bees. For the last 4 days, there were thousands of bees dying every day, and today was no exception.

    The bees which were still alive inside the hive appeared to be ok and walking around the hive, but they were not well at all. As soon as they are trying to fly off the landing board, they are falling to the ground where they spin for a few minutes and then they die. I hope that dying will stop by tomorrow as I feel so helpless and unable to help them.

    On the positive note, my wife is feeling better now after throwing up a whole day. I pressure washed all the patio furniture, grill, and all the stuff which was contaminated. This is a strong neurotoxin and I have doubts that in only kills the mosquitos, bees, butterfly and other insects. Either they apply a much higher dose or this stuff is to dangerous to use in residential areas..

    If I did not have the bees, I would not even know that the county sprayed a dangerous neurotoxic over us and not know the reason for the headaches and my wife throwing up all day, How many people felt sick the last few days and had no clue that this was caused by the aerial poisonings by our county ?

    We were outside every evening and prior to the aerial spraying I did not see any mosquitoes compared to the summer months. In December, the mosquito population decreases naturally without any pesticide as the weather is getting cooler and dryer. Today was very cold and we had 51 degrees in Boynton Beach…

    Why did they not spray during the summer ? Maybe somebody did not do their job at the right time, but decided to do it now because they had the money already allocated for it and the county is operating by the rule “use it or loose it”.

    They decided to poison our air and water rather than loose the funding for next year !!!


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