September 14, 2016

Zika Spraying Kills Bees by the Millions—is our Health at Risk?

us air force spraying for mosquitoes plane

*Editor’s Note: No website is designed to, and can not be construed to, provide actual medical advice, professional diagnosis or treatment to you or anyone. Elephant is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional advice, care and treatment. This article was adapted from Honeycolony.com.


Is the buzz about the Zika virus simply hype? And why are we spraying poisons ad nauseum in the name of health?

Droves of Miami residents—some carrying signs and wearing gas masks or hazmat suits—have thankfully started protesting against the aerial spraying of chemicals to kill mosquitoes supposedly carrying the zika virus. The protest has only delayed the spraying of Naled, slated to continue on each of the next three Sundays. But it has raised the point that the regular exposure of overhead dousing of chemicals is more dangerous than the possibility of maybe getting Zika.

For nearly a decade since making Vanishing of the Bees, narrated by Ellen Page, I’ve been writing about honey bees and pesticides and recently have covered the many inconsistencies regarding Zika.

Rather than just blindly trust the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that Naled is “safe,” let’s look at the Insecticide Fact Sheet. Naled, which has been registered for use in the U.S. since 1959 and is sold under the brand name Dibrom, is an organophosphate.

Developed as nerve agents, organophosphates, at high doses, can cause nausea, convulsions and death. Yet according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Naled is “safe” on humans at permitted ultra-low concentrations.

Thankfully, only one million pounds of Naled is used every year in the U.S., sprayed over 16 million acres. Approximately 70 percent of this is used for mosquito control and aerial applications can drift up to one-half mile. But rest assured, Zika spraying will prompt an increase in the use of Naled, along with who knows what other poisons.

For those eating conventional foods or wearing cotton that ain’t organic, the remaining 30 percent is used in agriculture. Cotton in California and Louisiana, alfalfa in Idaho and Oregon, and on grapes in California.

The European Union has banned organophosphates where the risk is seen as unacceptable. And in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, where Zika is widespread, the governor prohibited Naled amid protests over safety concerns. Naled is moderately-to-highly toxic to birds and fish. It’s been shown to reduce egg production and hatching success in tests with birds and reduced growth in tests with juvenile fish.

When poisons break down, many times their metabolites are even more dangerous than the parent compound.

Naled is no different. When it breaks down it turns into DICHLORVOS (another organophosphate insecticide), which interferes with prenatal brain development. In laboratory animals, exposure for just three days during pregnancy (when the brain is growing quickly) reduced brain size 15 percent. Um, wait a second, rewind—doesn’t that sound an awful like microcephaly and what officials are telling us is caused by Zika?

So let’s recap for a moment: To kill mosquitoes that may cause a virus that most likely doesn’t cause microcephaly, we’re spraying poisons that can indeed cause fetal brain damage. Got it. Makes perfect sense, right?

Carpet of Carcasses

In South Carolina on a recent Sunday, Zika spraying killed more than three million honeybees in a matter of minutes because Dorchester County officials decided to spray the air, from planes, with a pesticide called Naled. You know, just in case. The Washington Post headline read: “Like it’s been nuked: Millions of bees dead after South Carolina sprays for Zika mosquitoes.”

“On Saturday, it was total energy, millions of bees foraging, pollinating, making honey for winter,” beekeeper Juanita Stanley told the press. “Today, it stinks of death. Maggots and other insects are feeding on the honey and the baby bees who are still in the hives. It’s heartbreaking.”

There’s undoubtedly more bee deaths to come.

And make no mistake—we are the bees.

The bees are messengers as I often say. The question is, are we listening? So far, the answer is a big fat no.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Because Naled breaks down quickly, it does not pose a risk to the honey bee populations.” But then they also state that “Spraying Naled can kill bees outside of their hives at the time of spraying; therefore, spraying is limited to dawn or dusk when bees are inside their hives…”

Which one is it?

Does killing millions in minutes sound like the odds are in favor of the bees?

If you dig beyond the surface, it seems that Zika is the perfect Trojan Horse. And the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC—with the help of the lazy mainstream media—is creating a vicious cycle that goes something like this:

>> Create a scare
>> Bank on the sloppiness of the media.
>> Convince the world that lest we take precautions, women will give birth to babies with deformed brains and people will get infected.
>> Justify the release of questionable GMO mosquitoes, not to mention the use of poisons that actually can give rise to babies with deformed brains, creating even more fear and demand for supposed protection in the form of poisons.
>> Then create a need to vaccinate folks.


The Zika threat is being publicized constantly now to instill fear, fear, fear! And it’s working! According to a recent poll, most Americans want Congress to make Zika funding a high priority.

>> Almost all Americans have heard or read about the Zika virus (92 percent), and one-third (36 percent) say that passing new funding to deal with the outbreak in the U.S. should be a top priority for Congress, with an additional 40 percent saying it should be an important but not a top priority. A large majority of all partisans say that new congressional funding should be at least an important priority for Congress.

>> About half of the public says they would not feel comfortable traveling to places like parts of Florida where people have been infected with the Zika virus by mosquitoes. In addition, three-fourths (77 percent) say these places are generally unsafe for pregnant women. The Kaiser Family Foundation has been tracking public opinion on Zika since February 2016; for more poll results, visit the up-to-date Zika slideshow.

Enter the need of course to pour billions into the Zika vaccine. That is the hope for our future (read sarcasm here). By a bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in June to dedicate $1.1 billion additional dollars to Zika aid. The dollars will support vaccine development, mosquito control, and support services in areas that have been hard hit by this virus.

(By the way, there’s a concern that the bill will remove important protections instated by the Clean Water Act, reports The Huffington Post.)

And it’s off to the races! The U.S. government has already pledged $19.8 million to help Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. pay for initial development of a Zika vaccine under a contract that could go up to $312 million. The National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday that its vaccine has already entered clinical trials. Last week, Inovio Pharmaceuticals also announced that clinical trials began for its vaccine.

No Real Link

But wait, what about all those articles? What about the WHO and the CDC?

Despite what the media and health organizations suggest, there is no veritable link between Zika and microcephaly.

“…A causal link between Zika infection in pregnancy and microcephaly has not, and I must emphasize, has not been established,” WHO General Director Margaret Chan said in an announcement to the WHO’s executive board. She then added that “the circumstantial evidence is suggestive [of a link] and extremely worrisome.”

There are others who are much closer to Brazil, Zika’s epicenter, who are also stating that there is no correlation.

“There is no direct evidence that the virus causes microcephaly,” affirms Dr. Patricia Pestana Garcez, a neurodevelopmental expert who studies microcephaly at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Upon further examination initial reports linking Zika and microcephaly amongst patients were inaccurate, confers Dr. Wallace Ransom, an epidemiologist who has worked for the Centers for Disease Control.

It was the Brazilian Ministry of Health that quickly linked incomplete brain development to Zika, ignoring key factors such as the chemical model for vector control. Keep in mind that the revolving door is alive and spinning in Latin America too. Government employees used to work for global companies that manufacture and sell poisons.

Typically, Zika causes flu-like symptoms that are often mistaken for other arbovirus infections such as dengue or chikungunya. Symptoms include low-grade fever, myalgia, headache, retro-orbital pain, conjunctivitis, and a rash—not defects and brain deformations.

Meanwhile, microcephaly, which presents in babies with abnormally small heads due to incomplete brain development, is usually caused by an attack on the fetal brain. Causes may be alcohol abuse, a heavy blow to the body, or toxic exposure to a vaccine or pesticide. Not a bug bite.

A report issued by physicians in the crop-sprayed villages notes that in December 2013, during the Zika epidemic in French Polynesia, an increase in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome was also detected. This neurological paralysis is often linked to immune disruption generated by viruses, vaccines, and/or environmental toxins.

To reiterate, there is no definitive proof that Zika is related to microcephaly. (For those scientists who are sounding the alarm because Zika is showing up in pee, blood, amniotic fluid, and semen, let’s remind ourselves that humans have been cohabitating with viruses for eons.)

The Future is Now

Suddenly I feel that I am living in a Sci-Fi flick.

Imagine this in the not so distant future: After maybe years of working nonstop, you decide to finally go on a little vacay. But wait!? Did you get your mandatory Zika vaccine? Shyzer. You haven’t. Or worse yet, you refuse to. Sorry, you can’t go to Costa Rica or Brazil. Hell, you can’t even go to Florida. If you are lucky maybe you can spend that much deserved downtime at the North Pole. I am pretty sure there are no mosquitoes there.

If you do opt to trade the vaccine for a vacation, then be prepared to possibly also be sprayed while you are on the plane. Yes, while you are in the plane. But don’t worry, the poisons are safe.

Disinsection is permitted under international law in order to protect public health, agriculture, and the environment. The WHO and the International Civil Aviation Organization stipulate two approaches for aircraft disinsection:

>> Spray the aircraft cabin with an aerosolized insecticide while passengers are on board.
>> Spray or treat the aircraft’s interior surfaces with a residual insecticide (residual method) while passengers are not on board.

According to Department of Transportation, countries can enact new guidelines as they see fit. To find out which countries have already begun spraying for Zika, you can visit their website.

On land, to curb Zika, officials have begun blanketing America with poisons (in the name of health) to mitigate a supposed threat. Is this the way intelligent, rational human beings handle their business? What the eff happened to the precautionary principle? This is the approach taken that errs on the side of safety when there is suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or to the environment.

For instance, 27 trucks recently sprayed the streets of Manhattan, men are walking around spraying pyrethroids (touted as safer but not really) around sewer systems amid popular tourist destinations in Miami, and planes are sweeping over South Carolina. And overseas the same thing is happening from Cuba to the Congo. And according to a study, scientists and global health organizations are stating that more than two billion people could be at risk from Zika virus outbreaks in parts of Africa and Asia.

It’s pandemonium!

Do you know that when it comes to pesticides, only one percent of what is sprayed actually reaches its target? The remaining 99 percent of all the billions of pounds of sprayed pesticides penetrate the soil, the water, the air, and other creatures. And they penetrate you.

There is no ruling body looking out for our environment. There’s no protection agency. It’s time to head for the hills boys.

Or the North Pole.


Author: Maryam Henein

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Maryam Henein