Tybee Island officials say that they are continuing to address the issue of bee deaths this past spring, which seems to be at least in part due to pesticide spraying by Chatham County.
"In May, earlier this year, there was a problem, still of indeterminate nature, which resulted in the death of a large number of bees and damage to hives on Tybee Island," a Tybee City spokesperson says. "The City is continuing to address the matter and is exploring steps to promote a vibrant bee population on the island. The City is investigating the use of different organic methods for both weed and ant control."
The Tybee Island Department of Public Works is currently using natural weed and ant control solutions rather than pesticides and continues to explore methods of natural controls.
"In addition, a pollinator garden has been planted at Jaycee park, and landscaping around the fire station will be replaced with pollinator plantings to promote our population of beneficial insects," the City of Tybee says.
The City of Tybee is also working with its insurance coverage group to try to assist in mitigating losses.
"The unfortunate loss of bees was unexpected by the City as it relies on those educated in the field in matters relating to treatments. The Department of Agriculture analyzed samples relating to the incident in June and has released a report which is available on the City’s website. The interpretation of the findings is best left to the Department," the City of Tybee says.
The Dept. of Agriculture report indicates that the bees were killed by the same pesticide used by Chatham County Mosquito Control, but concludes:
"The responsibility for the health and welfare of bees rests ultimately with the beekeepers," the state says.