Five million bees die abandoned at Atlanta airport

posted on 04/29/2022 20:16

All the confusion generated a loss of US$ 48 thousand dollars, about 240 thousand reais in the quotation of this Friday (20/4) - (credit: Association of Atlanta Metro Beekeepers/Facebook/Reproduction)


All the confusion generated a loss of US$ 48 thousand dollars, about 240 thousand reais in the quotation of this Friday (20/4) – (credit: Association of Atlanta Metro Beekeepers/Facebook/Reproduction)

A shipment of about five million bees was abandoned from the Atlanta airport in the United States. Almost 7,000 km away, in the city of Anchorage, Alaska, Sarah McElrea discovered in the middle of the airport that the 363 kg in hives had not arrived at the scene. The initial scare was followed by apprehension and disappointment, in that order, by fearing and later realizing that the insects would be dead by then.

That’s because the company Delta Airlines changed, without warning, the route that should have been taken from Sacramento, origin of the bees, with a stopover in Seattle, until reaching Alaska. It was a Friday (22/4) and the information passed to McElrea was that the animals did not fit on the flight they were destined for and would complete their journey to Anchorage on Saturday, the day after the original deadline.


As if that wasn’t already painful enough for these delicately transported living things — the bees must be fed along the way (usually with water and sugar) and kept fresh — the beekeeper has received word that the precious insects have been removed. of the company’s refrigerator and abandoned on the airport runway in 28ºC heat.

It may not seem so bad for us, Brazilian humans used to temperatures above 30ºC, but the breeder knew that the precious insects would hardly be alive after that.


Apiaries were left on the track at a temperature of 28°C, without food.

Apiaries were left on the track at a temperature of 28°C, without food.
(photo: Atlanta Metro Beekeepers Association/Facebook/Reproduction)

No bees, no fruits or vegetables

Although not native to Alaska, these bees are expected to be a balm for the region’s crops. It is because the intense use of pesticides decimated natural pollinators and, now, rural producers are dependent on these bee shipments from other parts of the country or parts of the world.

“Pollinated crops like blueberries, cranberries, oranges, almonds, watermelons – too many to list – depend on these commercial beekeepers,” he explained to Jimmy Gatt, a certified beekeeper and president of the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association, in an interview with the newspaper. The New York Times. In Anchorage, this is especially true for apple growers. More than 300 apple orchards and nurseries were eagerly awaiting the shipment.

“People don’t understand how dependent we as a species are on bees for pollination,” McElrea said. Also in an interview with The New York Times she mourned the loss of so many precious specimens. “And that’s a waste, an absolute tragedy.”

All the confusion generated a loss of US$ 48 thousand, about R4 240 thousand in the quotation of this Friday (20/4). A sum that beekeepers hope to recover in court, in a lawsuit they are preparing against Delta Airlines. In response to the report by NY Timesthe company said it did everything possible to transport the hives safely.

The actions, however, were insufficient to avoid the 5 million dead animals. “The worst part of it for me is how they suffered, and there was nothing I could do about it,” McElrea lamented.


MABA board member Edward 'Bean' Morgan Jr. took the call from a desperate Alaskan beekeeper and did everything he could to prevent a bigger disaster

MABA board member Edward ‘Bean’ Morgan Jr. took the call from a desperate Alaskan beekeeper and did everything he could to prevent a bigger disaster
(photo: Atlanta Metro Beekeepers Association/Facebook/Reproduction)

Beekeepers Association rushed to airport for rescue

In an impressive show of support and an almost heroic act, an Atlanta beekeepers association mobilized to try to save the animals. In desperation not to let the animals starve on an airport runway, McElrea contacted the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association. Then the swarm’s commander, Dave Marshall, connected it with Edward Morgan, a member.

also to the NY Times, Morgan said he didn’t know what to expect, but nothing would prepare him for what he saw next. “Just clumps of dead bees that didn’t stand a chance because they were left outside without food,” he recalled. He comments that even though a quarter of the swarm was already visibly dead as soon as they arrived, they looked for solutions to avoid the worst.

“But it turned into something entirely different. The bee community has come together. Everyone was trying to make sure these bees had a home,” she said. He said he sent a message to local beekeepers that they would give free bees at the airport because the surviving insects couldn’t make it to Alaska.

In response, 25 people showed up and together they broke package by package to find only hundreds, thousands, and then millions of dead insects. To prevent the tragedy from happening again, McElrea and her husband said they will fly to Seattle and from there they will rent vans that will drive to Sacramento to make sure the apiaries are transported safely.

  • Millions of bees destined for Alaska are redirected and die in Atlanta.

    Millions of bees destined for Alaska are redirected and die in Atlanta.
    Photo: Atlanta Metro Beekeepers Association/Facebook/Reproduction

  • Millions of bees destined for Alaska are redirected and die in Atlanta

    Millions of bees destined for Alaska are redirected and die in Atlanta
    Photo: Atlanta Metro Beekeepers Association/Facebook/Reproduction

  • MABA Board Member Edward 'Bean' Morgan Jr.  for getting a call from a desperate Alaskan beekeeper whose bees were trapped in the tarmac in Hartsfield Jackson.

    MABA Board Member Edward ‘Bean’ Morgan Jr. for getting a call from a desperate Alaskan beekeeper whose bees were trapped in the tarmac in Hartsfield Jackson.
    Photo: Atlanta Metro Beekeepers Association/Facebook/Reproduction

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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