Beekeepers and others with concerns about pesticides sprayed for mosquito control in New Hanover County will have to file a formal request for exclusion under a policy adopted Wednesday by the county Board of Health.
Dianne Harvell, environmental health services manager for the health department, said people routinely ask the county not to spray their properties for mosquitoes because they’re beekeepers, have butterfly gardens or have sensitivities to chemicals in the spray.
County Commissioner Rick Catlin, a member of the board, said he understood the concerns beekeepers might have with pesticides being sprayed near their properties.
“Bees are struggling all over North Carolina,” he said.
Michael Goins, chairman of the board, is a beekeeper and didn’t participate in the discussion or vote on the policy.
Goins and Harvell said the policy is a first for any county in the state, as far as they can tell.
Under the policy, properties can still be excluded from the spraying, but the procedure is formalized, requiring an exclusion form to be submitted to the health department. The request has to show the address of the property, the reason for requesting an exclusion and the signature of the property owner or occupant. A copy of the form must be given to appropriate community associations.
Additionally, the form requires signatures of two adjacent property owners.
That provision, described by Goins as a compromise, stung professional beekeeper Barry Harris the wrong way.
Harris, who already has an exclusion from spraying at his Middle Sound Loop Road home, views the requirement as a threat to beekeepers.