A huge Florida citrus farm is being fined by state officials for poisoning millions of honeybees to death -- but it's not being fined very much.
Ben Hill Griffin Inc., one of the state’s largest growers and a supplier to Florida’s Natural orange juice, is accused of illegally spraying pesticides (i.e., not following the directions on the labels) in ways that led to the deaths of bees kept by nearby beekeepers. One apiarist told officials that the farm used crop-dusters to douse its groves at least a dozen times — presumably to control Asian citrus psyllid, which spreads the devastating citrus greening disease. He estimated his losses at $240,000 worth of bees and reduced honey production. Another beekeeper says he is down $150,000.
So how much is the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Department fining the company? A paltry $1,500.
"That laughable penalty has environmentalists and beekeepers fuming," reports the Miami New Times.