‘This is total devastation’ — Magic Valley bees dying in droves

‘This is total devastation’ — Magic Valley bees dying in droves

SOURCE: Magic Valley DATE: December 4, 2019 SNIP: A carpet of dead bees covers the ground in front of his hives. “It’s devastating,” Tony Kaneaster of Kaneaster Apiary said. “This is just totally devastating. They can’t pick up from something like this.” Kaneaster grabs a handful of bees from the inch-deep row and sifts through them. They’re light and fuzzy in his hand. The living bees constantly clean up the deceased and push them out of the hive, and gusts of wind can blow the corpses away quickly, so these carcasses are fresh. Dave Kaneaster bought a thousand hives when he was 20. Now he’s 76 and has been in the bee business in Gooding for 56 years. His specialized license plate reads HONEYBZ. Tony Kaneaster has been in the bee business with his father for 40 years. The 49-year-old and his dad have seen their bees die by the thousands a few times in the past decade. Beekeepers Dave and Tony Kaneaster review fungicide descriptions Nov. 22 at their bee yard in Bliss. The Kaneasters aren’t sure what’s killing their bees, but they suspect fungicides are the culprit. But they’ve never seen anything quite like this. “This is 100% loss,” Tony Kaneaster said. “Before, it was a loss once in a while and (the bees) could start working out of it. These are completely dying.” The Kaneasters don’t know for sure what’s killing their bees, but they have an idea: fungicides, chemicals farmers spray on their fields to protect their crops from fungal diseases. There are some eerie signs of unusual deaths for the Kaneasters’ bees. For instance,...