Despite the passionate commitment of local beekeepers: a change of course and a missed coincidence cost the lives of millions of bees.
With the exception of the initials, Anchorage and Atlanta have little in common. Thousands of kilometers separate the two cities of the United States, and even a few degrees Celsius. Because in Atlanta it is currently up to 30 degrees hot during the day, while in the Alaskan capital Anchorage it is only about 11 degrees. That was the downfall of five million bees.
They were part of an 800-pound cargo of bees to be transported aboard Delta Air Lines from Sacramento to Alaska via Seattle. But instead of flying over the city in the northwest of the United States, the bees flew over Atlanta in the south of the country. According to the New York Times, there was no more delivery space in the hold of the Seattle plane. And then the Atlanta bees lost the connection.
I looked for help online
When beekeeper Sarah McElrea, who had ordered bees for some 300 beekeepers in Alaska, learned of the new route and the missed flight, she knew it wouldn’t be a happy welcome. After all, bees don’t tolerate heat very well. They also need to be fed regularly, usually sugar water.
Your desire to cool the bees was not fulfilled. On the contrary. Thinking the bees were running away from the boxes, the staff placed them outside in the sun. McElrea eventually turned to colleagues online for help.
Most of the bees died
“I went to Facebook and wrote a short post on a Georgia-based site,” she told the Alaska Public newspaper. That’s how she got in touch with a colleague from Atlanta. She went to the airport to have a look at the delivery and found that most of the bees were already dead from the heat.
To save the surviving bees, the beekeeper asked colleagues for reinforcements. They did what they could, but most of the bees didn’t make it to Anchorage. Most of the five million bees died on the way.
Delta promises improvements
Delta Air Lines says it is aware of the incident and is doing everything it can to prevent something similar from happening in the future. According to the beekeeper McElrea, the most important thing is to inform the staff that bees are not dangerous and do not sting quite like that. This could have prevented the staff from leaving the animals outside in the heat. Apparently the employees were afraid of being bitten.