- About 5 million bees bound for Alaska were forced to stop in Atlanta, where most died, according to the APM.
- Sarah McElira, who asked for bees, was told by Delta that she would have to sit on the tarmac.
- Delta apologized for the “unfortunate situation”.
Millions of bees bound for Alaska on a Delta Airlines flight have died after a plane was left on the tarmac in Atlanta, Georgia, after being diverted.
Alaska Public Media (APM) reported Wednesday that a Delta plane carrying a cargo of nearly 5 million bees bound for Anchorage, Alaska, had to be redirected to Atlanta. Most of the bees died in the city of Georgia.
A shipment of 200 boxes, ordered by Sarah McKellara from Sarah Alaskan honey On behalf of 300 beekeepers in Alaska, they carried 800 pounds of bees, valued at $48,000.
The boxes were to fly from Sacramento, California, to Anchorage Airport via Seattle, Washington. But the bees were unsuitable for the flight to Seattle, and were instead rerouted through the center of the Delta in Atlanta.
Delta told McKelrea that the bees would have to wait in a cooler last Saturday but were taken to the runway the next day due to fears the bees might escape. McElrea told APM that the temperature in Atlanta was 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the day they were left there.
“I really panicked when they found out they had taken them outside because the pheromones that honeybees emit are attractive to other honeybees in the area,” she told APM. Since the bees were outside, it was difficult to rescue those in the boxes.
MacElrea told APM she linked via Facebook to “a page located in Georgia.” I reached out to Edward Morgan, a beekeeper in Georgia, Atlanta, who He told Atlanta radio station WABE He and more than 20 others from the Metro Atlanta Bakers Association rushed to the airport to try and rescue the bees.
“It’s devastating to see so many deaths,” Julia Mahood, a principal beekeeper in Georgia, told WABE. “Just clumps of dead bees that didn’t stand a chance because they were left outside without food and basically lost in the Delta machines.”
In an emailed statement, a Delta spokesperson told Insider: “Delta was informed of the status of the shipment that occurred on the DL2390 from Sacramento to Atlanta and quickly engaged the appropriate internal teams to assess the situation.
“We have taken immediate action to implement new measures to ensure that events of this nature do not occur in the future. We have been in direct contact with the client to apologize for the unfortunate situation.”
McElrea did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment outside of normal business hours.
mysylaria He told the New York Times in an interview Alaskans are increasingly dependent on imports for bees to pollinate crops for the spring and fall seasons.
“People don’t realize how much we as a species depend on honeybees for pollination,” McElrea told the New York Times. “And that’s just a waste, an absolute tragedy.”
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