Despite the passionate commitment of local beekeepers: a change of route and a missed connection cost the lives of millions of bees.
Except for the initials, Anchorage and Atlanta have little in common. Thousands of kilometers separate the two American cities – and also a few degrees Celsius. Because in Atlanta it is currently up to 30 degrees during the day, while in Anchorage, the capital of Alaska, it is only around 11 degrees. It was the loss of five million bees.
They were part of an 800-pound shipment of bees that was to be flown 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. Because, according to the New York Times, there was no more room for delivery in the hold of the Seattle plane. And then the Atlanta bees missed their connecting flight.
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When beekeeper Sarah McElrea, who had ordered the bees for about 300 beekeepers in Alaska, heard about the new route and the missed flight, she knew there would not be a happy reception. After all, bees do not tolerate heat well. They also need to be fed regularly, usually with sugar water.
Your wish for the bees to be chilled has not been granted. On the contrary. Thinking the bees were escaping from the boxes, the staff placed them outside in the sun. McElrea eventually turned to colleagues online for help.
Most bees are dead
“I went to Facebook and wrote a short article on a Georgia-based site,” she told the Alaska Public newspaper. That’s how she got in touch with a colleague from Atlanta. He drove to the airport to take a look at the delivery – and found that most of the bees had already died of heat.
In order to save the surviving bees, the beekeeper called in reinforcements from colleagues. They did what they could, but most of the bees didn’t make it to Anchorage. The majority of the five million bees died during the journey.
Improved Delta Wishes
Delta Air Lines says it is aware of the incident and is doing everything in its power to prevent something similar from happening in the future. According to beekeeper McElrea, the most important thing is to inform staff that bees are not dangerous and do not just sting. It could have stopped the staff from letting the animals out in the heat. Apparently the employees were afraid of being bitten.