If you check this map* of DoC’s recent pest treatment of the Coromandel that included 1080 drops, the Otahu block which was part of that, is right below Whangamatā. Whangamatā has this past week been stricken with 1000s of dying bees … washed ashore at Whangamatā’s popular beach, currently also inundated with holiday makers.
*(Note: you will need to scroll to the bottom of the page at the link & click on ‘I agree’ to access the map).
NZ Herald reports 75 bee stings over the week from the dying insects. The problem began according to Radio NZ on Monday of last week (Christmas Day). Mainstream media has chosen to report it four days later on December 29th, the Friday before New Year when it will likely fly under the radar as folk head off for the long weekend. A time worn tactic with mainstream. NZ Herald reported it on the 30th (Saturday) but only as one paragraph within an article about the large beach crowd, not considered important enough to have a headline of its own. Die offs are becoming almost ho hum these days it seems. Pipi, toheroa, eels, blue bottles more recently and if you google bees this isn’t the first. I saw one item from 2014. There were more. By and large the phenomenon it appears is being downplayed.
It is unclear from DoC’s website maps and info whether 1080 was actually dropped on that block, but it is clear that it was treated with something. Whangamatā is situated on an estuary, also the subject of controversy with conservation concerns regarding a marina built there. As the map indicates waterways (particularly note the Otahu River) flow out of the poisoned zone to the sea. We are not told exactly where the bees were found, or on which beach. There are actually two there and both are safe for swimming.
Amendment 1 Jan 2018: All three pest treatments were aerial 1080 drops.
What I found interesting researching this, was the lack of ease of locating on Doc’s site the relevant information about the poisoned areas. I note that the map indicates 1080 was applied to the Papakai block in the Coromandel, still the other two areas (marked in red) do not indicate the poison used at all. It was only when I went to the Battle for our Birds page that I could find dates (Oct/Nov 2017) yet there was still no clear indication of what was dropped. The Hunting page gave a little more information as in where to go to find out the drop areas but one would have thought the Walking and Tramping page would contain this important information given tourists like to walk the scenic routes. There is nothing there, the site in my opinion is not tourist friendly at all.
So there has been a die off of thousands of bees. This is so tragic, given also we have only just had recent concerns raised by bee keepers about the effects of 1080 on the bee population, particularly in the Coromandel, with bees returning it to the hives.
Will we find out if it was 1080 (or any other poison)? I very much doubt it given the disinclination the authorities charged with protecting our wildlife have to reporting anything bad about this ‘wonderful’ insecticide that kills all oxygen breathing animals and organisms … banned by most countries and manufactured by your government here in Kiwiland. Neither is it likely we’ll be told if it is any of the other poisons our authorities spread liberally around our environment. Our Kiwi government has a love affair with poisons and seems to be comfortably in bed with the poison industry possibly explaining the ongoing opposition we are seeing to anybody who questions the wisdom of it. Sue Kedgely summed it up quite nicely in 2012:
I am wondering how long it will be before we stop using pesticides that are poisonous to bees. I am not optimistic that it will be quickly, given our record. We were, after all, one of the last countries in the world to ban 245T. And the response of successive governments to calls to stop using lethal pesticides has been to dither and procrastinate in the face of mounting evidence, and accept industry blandishments that they are safe…. Sue Kedgely, Green Party
Let’s hope this is investigated by Whangamatā’s regional authorities. We will only be guessing unless the insects are tested and more information is given. Why do thousands of bees suddenly die off like that? We’ve been hearing for years that once the bees go (die) we humans have only a few years left. Ah but you can rest safe because the clever people running the show are busy cobbling together their new GM varieties which of course are going to save the planet.
Here are the articles from mainstream about the bee die off:
Whangamatā inundated with dying bees
One of the country’s busiest beaches has been inundated with dying bees, creating a hazard for holidaymakers.
Surf Lifesavers at Whangamatā have gone as far as issuing a warning to beachgoers to watch out for the insects.
Deputy Head Guard Max Jones said they had dealt with dozens of first aid requests for bee stings as thousands of the insects began washing up on the beach this week.
He first noticed them washing in with the tide on Monday and said it got worse as the week progressed.
He said that by Wednesday there were thousands of bees all along the high tide mark and they had to help about 20 children who had been stung.
Mr Jones said he had never seen anything like it, and while they were trying to alert people to the problem it was difficult with so many people on the beach.
He said the bees were mainly at the high-tide line, and while the numbers appeared to have decreased people still needed to be vigilant.
But the biggest cause of injury over the week had been bee stings as thousands of dead bees washed ashore. Gibson estimated the crew had tended to 75 bee stings over the week.
Many oppose Doc’s 1080 drops on the Coromandel
Note: most of the links refer to our own articles, however if you consider this lop sided, I should point out that those articles contain external links. This is about saving time. You can proceed to those links yourself.
For further information on the poisons used in our environment including 1080 and glyphosate, see our main menu. Search categories or use the search box for other articles on topic. EnvirowatchRangitikei
Photo of Whangamata: Wikipedia