Mike Studer, the state apiarist, has asked that Blount County beekeepers, particularly those who have hives near the site of the recent train derailment, to do the following:
— Leave the honey on the hives. Do not extract any honey until the state has had a chance to run some tests to determine if the honey has been contaminated.
— Check the front of your hives immediately to see if there are any significant bee kills that have occurred in the last 36 hours.
— Continue to monitor the fronts of your hives daily. Contaminations sometimes take several days to show their effects. If you see a significant loss of bees over the next week or two, contact Mike Studer or BCBA president Harlen Breeden.
Studer said that his belief is that the railroad company CSX will continue to be responsible for any damage resulting from the accident. That would include damage to beehives or honey.
Studer said he hopes to have more information about possible honey contamination by sometime next week.
If you see anything unusual with your hives that might be attributed to the railroad accident, you should call Harlen (865-719-1828) or Mike (615-517-4451) immediately. This is especially true about large amounts of dead bees. Their carcasses deteriorate quickly, so the sooner they can be tested, the better the results will be.
The train derailment occurred early Thursday morning near the crossing on Old Mount Tabor Road and not far from Old Glory Road. A number of our members have hives close to that site.