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September 5, 2013

Letter: More info needed in reported bee deaths

To the editor:

Regarding the story about beekeepers’ concern that mosquito spraying is destroying their hives (the Times, Tuesday, Aug. 27), the beekeepers cited are making some troubling allegations.

Where and when did the bee deaths occur? Did they document those incidents, and have the bees been analyzed? Did those deaths correspond in time and place to actual treatments made by the mosquito control project?

Without suitable answers to these questions, the claims and conclusions made by the beekeepers might be considerably off the mark and beyond irresponsible. Bees may die from a multitude of causes, including infection and contamination from other sources. If the alleged charges are found to be valid, then I am certain that this will factor into future decisions and plans to combat mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease.

It should be kept in mind that any anti-mosquito efforts performed there likely afforded protection to the beekeepers, their families and their neighbors, and had little — if any — impact upon the bees.

RICHARD POLLACK, Ph.D.

Public health entomologist

Cambridge

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