FunNature & AnimalMillions of bees used in pollination die burned in...

Millions of bees used in pollination die burned in a plane


A shipment of bees from California, USA, bound for Alaska, has died after an airline diverted them through Atlanta and then left them sitting on the airport tarmac for hours in scorching heat. The bees died from the suffocating heat without being able to escape.


Forgotten under the sun

Weighing approximately more than 800 pounds, 200 boxes of bees had been shipped from Sacramento, California to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska. It was the first of the shipments that hundreds of beekeepers were waiting for, anxious to see the pollination work of these insects on their apple orchards.

According to a report in The New York Times , there was no room on the flight to Seattle, causing it to be diverted through Delta’s hub in Atlanta, where the bees would travel to Anchorage the next day. However, the bees were placed in the middle of the flight track as a waiting room, under temperatures of more than 28 ºC in full sun.

After sending a local expert to examine the bees, they discovered that not only had they been abandoned in the sun, but they were placed upside down, without access to food, so millions of them had died. They had died of heat and hunger . The few that were still alive were released, so none of them reached their intended destination.

No one from the airline has wanted to make statements to the media to talk about this sad event.

Atlanta beekeeper Edward Morgan called more than a dozen people to the airport to try to save the remaining bees .


a dangerous transport

Shipping living things by air is always tricky, experts say. In this case, that of the bees also carries certain conditions: the bees must be fed on the way (usually with sugar water) and kept cool.

The distributors know how much food to put in the boxes so that the bees can travel safely within a reasonable time. But that gets complicated when there are delays or cancellations, particularly in extreme weather.

The importance of bees

Every year, thousands of colonies of honey bees from around the world are transported from one region to another to pollinate crops. These bees are vital in the pollination service because they can forage at low temperatures; so they can be counted on in cooler times of the year for crop pollination when wild bees have not yet come out of hibernation.

They are also among the best pollinating insects, although they are not the only ones. Although it depends on the crop or flower, honey bees are essential to pollinate almond crops, for example, and bumblebees, tomatoes.

Referencia: Bumblebees: Behaviour, Ecology, and Conservation is an excellent book written by world bumble bee expert, Professor Dave Goulson.

The New York Times

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