Bee distributor Mann Lake Ltd. in Pennsylvania is a leading manufacturer in the apiary industry, that ships equipment, kits, and bees all over the USA. They recently shipped over a million bees to various New England beekeepers.
There are conflicting stories as to what happened. It has been reported by many news outlets, including CBS News I-Team, that the bees were left to die in a hot UPS truck for weeks and most of them perished. UPS stated that this is “not accurate,” but when asked what did happen, they have not fully explained, although they have said that a shipment of bees had defective packaging and the bees in that package escaped into the truck.
This 2:22-minute video by CBS Boston covered the sad story:
According to UPS, they are still working with local beekeepers and their customer, Mann Lake, to safely contain the bees, get them moved, and resolve the situation. This has been going on for several weeks.
It is sad for those who loves bees and know how precious they are to our environment and how necessary they are for human survival to see such a situation unfold. If the bees were abandoned to die, it is disturbing that this dire situation has not been resolved yet, after weeks have passed. Nobody knows how many bees died and how many survived.
Bees are rescued from perilous places and under strange conditions all the time. There are bee experts that can capture a swarm of bees in minutes. It is hard to understand what is keeping this situation from being resolved, and why UPS did not contact local beekeeping associations right away. If they had, it is likely that many dead bees could have been saved.
How many bees were really on the truck and involved in this incident? If you consider that a healthy hive can house between 30,000—60,000 bees, 100 hives would represent anywhere from 3 million to 6 million bees.
No matter what the facts are, and hopefully they will still be revealed, this is a bee tragedy. Remember to do what you can for your local pollinators. Even if it is just raising awareness about the fact that bees have been having a hard time for the past decade or more.
Bees need our help. Educate yourself. Buy one plant, even if it is a flowering herb that you can share with the bees. Keep pesticides away from your flowers. Put out a small shallow dish of fresh water for bees every day. Plant some non-GMO heirloom sunflowers in a patch in your garden. Hang a little bee hotel or bee condo for the mason bees and other little native bees. All bees matter.