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We are raising money in the wake of a mass pesticide poisoning event at the San Diego Bee Sanctuary .

Thank you so much for everyone’s generosity, you really made this hard time way easier. The USDA has finally conducted their report and their findings conclude that the poison used was a termiticide, Fipronil. This chemical is banned for agriculture and landscaping purposes. The state of California only permitted the testing of the bees themselves and not any equipment, water supply, etc, but they did investigate all nearby orchards, recreational land, and nearby residence for any use of Fipronil. There was no reported nearby use, and all apiaries within a close proximity had no Fipronil exposure. While we’re grateful to know what caused our loss we’re uneasy about why this happened. We have decided to close our Escondido apiary as we suspect malice. The total loss of this apiary is about 95%, with only 2 colonies surviving and we’re still monitoring their health as we lost some 2 weeks ago. We’re working with the USDA, Master Beekeepers of CA, and local beekeepers on how to handle and rid the poison from contaminated equipment. With all your amazing donations we were able to buy 400 boxes to ensure we will be able to keep up with rescues and day to day beekeeping tasks. We can’t thank you all enough, you really lightened up a dark time. We encourage everyone to use organic, pollinator friendly pesticide and herbicides, plant native pollinator plants in your gardens, and to always be kind to one another. Thank you everyone!!

With no financial support from the USDA’s Emergency Assistance for livestock and Honey Bees, we have created a Gofundme in the hopes we can recover faster from this disaster by purchasing replacement hives and allowing us to shift focus to this yard.

On Wednesday September 20th, 2023 around 8pm we were at our Northern SD County apiary to move bees to our other bee yard, and noticed one colony showing signs of poisoning. Bees forage for food from random plants so we just assumed this colony unfortunately gathered resources from the wrong garden. We walked through our yard to notice this wasn’t an isolated hive but a trend throughout the colonies. Piles and piles of dead bees laid out in front of our hive stands.

Having been there two nights earlier the bees were out fanning on the “front porches” of the hive boxes, cooling off the hives from a warm summer night. That night however was silent, and the only bees that were alive were falling to their deaths.

Considerable love, sweat and bee stings go into our bee rescues and their healthy rehabilitation. This poisoning event has been so devastating to experience. You can’t imagine how sad it is to not only see so many of the bees you cared for die all at once but also watching them suffering in a death spiral over multiple days. It’s heartbreaking.

The next morning, we met at the apiary with inspectors from the Agricultural Department. They’re investigating the incident to help provide answers and more importantly stop any future misuses of pesticides. Not only were they at our bee yard within hours, they also helped asses the damage, did health checks, and took samples from some of the affected colonies. Pesticides are the biggest killer of honey bees and I can only imagine what other pollinators were killed in the surrounding ecosystem.

The rest of the day was spent shoveling out dead bees from bottom boards and providing a nectar substitute to help the colonies bounce back and discourage foraging from contaminated plants. We had 64 colonies and at that point 40 showed severe pesticide damage (huge piles of dead bees on the ground, the bottom boards covered to the point the entrances were blocked with dead bees including the queens.

Fast forward to today Monday September 25th, nothing has changed in a positive light other than friends, customers, and beekeepers around the world sharing their support. You guys definitely brightened this dark time, thank you for that! Colonies have dwindled into nothing, and we have to act fast to prevent other colonies from robbing pollen and nectar spreading poison and causing damage to them. Queenless hives are doomed to collapse because there’s no new bees and usually we can combine these bees with healthy colonies but with no improvement there’s no point to kill any healthy colonies.

We’re proactive with damage control as this the only viable option to prevent anymore destruction to any wildlife. As you can imagine emotions aside, basically dismantling a bee yard is hard and time consuming. The worst of it is deciding when to pull the plug on doomed colonies.

Everything pledged to help recovery of this honey bee poisoning event goes to the bees and we are so grateful there are such wonderful people in the world such as yourselves who want to protect these cool important animals.

Without bees there is no you and me.


  • Elen Veinon
    • $15 
    • 2 mos
  • Nancy Worsham
    • $30 
    • 4 mos
  • Matthew Foster
    • $10 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 5 mos


Paul Gunn
San Diego, CA

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