All Blount County beekeepers can extract honey from their hives, Mike Studer, state apiarist, said on Saturday morning.

But beekeepers should continue to monitor their hives to see if they notice any significant bee kills that might occur over the next couple of weeks.

Studer asked on Friday that honey extraction be suspended from many Blount County hives, particularly those close to the train derailment site that cause the evacuation of more than 5,000 people from their homes on Thursday.

The train car that derailed was carrying a dangerous chemical, which caught fire and took more than16 hours to burn itself out. A number of Blount beekeepers maintain hives that are well within the radius the evacuation zone.

State and federal environment officials were on the scene Thursday to test the air and water to see if any parts of the environment had been polluted, and they are continuing to gather samples.

Studer said he had been in touch with these officials, and to date they have found no levels of pollution outside normal levels.

If you see a significant bee kill in front of your hives over the next couple of weeks, you should contact Mike Studer at 615-517-4451 or Harlen Breeden, president of the Blount County Beekeepers Association, at 865-719-1828.

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