Insecticide against Zika mosquitoes costs the life of millions of bees
In the United States, in the fight against the Zika virus, insecticides are sprayed against the tiger mosquitoes responsible for the infections. The use of insecticides also costs the life of millions of bees.
Bee death has consequences for humans
Over the past few years, experts have repeatedly pointed out that bee populations around the world are at risk. Researchers have even dealt with the possible extinction of bees in scientific work.
The extinction of the hard-working insects would require 1.4 million additional deaths annually because fewer fruits, vegetables and grains would be available. Experts therefore repeatedly demand a reduction in the use of pesticides, which are considered to be a cause of bee death.
Insecticides against mosquitoes
In the USA, however, such recommendations currently seem to have taken a back seat. According to a report by the AFP news agency, millions of bees have been killed there by an insecticide that was actually used against the mosquitoes responsible for Zika infections.
According to the information, the insecticide was sprayed by plane last Sunday in Dorchester County, South Carolina. The county's chief executive, Jason Ward, confirmed this. Subsequently, several beekeepers in the region complained about dead bees.
Pesticide used banned in the EU
As the TV station TVSC reported, the beekeeping "Flowertown Bee Farm and Supplies" in the city of Summerville lost 2.5 million bees. Company owner Juanita Stanley wrote on her Facebook page that the use of the insecticide "destroyed" her family business.
The action was ordered after four Zika cases had been registered in Dorchester. According to the agency, the insecticide Naled was sprayed. This has been used in the United States as a pesticide since 1959. It has been banned in the EU since 2012 because of its environmental and health risks. The US Disease Control Agency only recommends using it correctly and sparingly.
Zika virus endangers unborn babies
Infection with the Zika virus, which is predominantly transmitted by mosquitoes, usually has no serious consequences in adults. According to health experts, around 20 percent of those infected develop flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches.
However, it can also cause newborn skull malformations (microcephaly). The babies are born with an unusually small head, which can lead to brain malformations. Therefore, pregnant women are always advised against traveling to affected regions and recommended to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
The pathogen is particularly prevalent in Latin America. So far, most cases (around 1.5 million) have been recorded in Brazil. Around 2,600 Zika cases have been reported in the United States to date. Most of the patients were apparently infected when traveling to Zika areas in South or Central America. A few months ago, experts had also warned of a possible Zika virus epidmia around the Mediterranean. (ad)