After finding hundreds of thousands of his bees dead, a Greeneville beekeeper believes someone sprayed chemicals on his hives.
Dale Luttrell first noticed something was wrong when the grass in front of his bee hives started dying. Sure enough, his bees started dying off, too.
“It killed all the old bees and now these younger bees are hatching out and it’s killing them,” Luttrell explained.
So far, he's lost 11 of his 21 hives, about 300,000 bees, he estimated.
“It’s disgusting somebody would do something like that,” he said.
Back in March, Luttrell rescued a swarm of honeybees that descended upon downtown Greeneville. He took them home to his hives at the time. Now many of those bees are dead.
Joel Hausser, a bee colony inspector with the state of Tennessee, came to look at the suspect hives.
“There’s evidence that something was done in front of his hives,” Hausser said.
But too much time has passed since the incident, and they can no longer test the grass or soil.
Luttrell said whoever sprayed chemicals likely did it more than a month ago, but it just wasn't noticed until it was too late.
Now Luttrell is burning some of the hives so that the chemicals don’t continue to spread to his healthy bees.
“I’m going to try to get me some more swarms and get back in it if I can,” he said.
Hausser said he brought the incident to the Sheriff’s Office’s attention, but at this point, there’s not much he can do.
In the meantime, Luttrell is exploring different surveillance options. He said if he finds out who did this he plans to take legal action.