How the Save the Bees Project Began

It was in 2008 that I moved into the Lakeview Shores neighborhood of Virginia Beach.  My first several years there, I was too busy managing a small business to notice the lack of bees in my yard, but it did finally occur to me that, even with all the clover in my backyard, there were no honeybees.

As the years passed, I began planting more and more wildflowers -- especially, native species -- to entice honeybees and other pollinators to come to my yard; I had a few friends nearby that were beekeepers, and my hope was to help nourish the bees.

Finally, in 2019, I began seeing all sorts of bees in my yard. They loved the variety of plants that I was growing for them. I would see more and more pollinators every day.  But, in late July, something strange happened.

Late at night, around 11pm, on a Friday night, July 26th, I heard the rumble of a truck coming down my street. When I looked out my front window, I saw the mosquito control truck spraying its chemicals all through the neighborhood.  Up and down Lakeview Ave. he went, several times.

The next morning, I went outside to water the flowers.  It immediately occurred to me that there were no insects to be seen. No bees, no dragonflies, no hummingbirds. Nothing.  The next day, I began a series of posts on to try to get to the bottom of this.

The following letters are taken from a series of posts from 2019 on

July 28, 2019

Dear Neighbor -

This year, I saw the first honeybees that I’ve seen in more than 3 years in Virginia Beach. I attribute this to all of the wildflowers that I’ve grown this summer (most from seed).

Each morning I go out to my garden to water and watch the honeybees, bumblebees, dragonflies, and hummingbirds enjoying their nectar and collecting their pollen.

It was late Friday night (July 26th), that I heard the rumble of the mosquito spray truck. They came up and down our streets a couple of times, fogging the whole neighborhood with their poisons.

When it comes to pesticides and insecticides, I’ve always felt that, if it’s harmful to another living thing, then it can’t be good for us. Well apparently, the spray that Virginia Beach uses is not good for any living thing; I haven’t seen a bee, a dragonfly, nor a hummingbird since that spraying last Friday night.

I don’t like mosquitoes either, but I’d rather be bitten by a few mosquitoes each day than to cause harm to our already fragile ecosystem.

Who here knows what chemicals are being sprayed in Virginia Beach?

Thank you,

R.J. Shelton

August 2, 2019

Dear Neighbor -

Today, August 2nd, 2019, marks one week since the City of Virginia Beach sprayed our neighborhood for mosquitoes. The mosquitoes have returned, but the bees have not.

On Monday, July 29, I paid a visit to the Mosquito Control Center of Virginia Beach, and spoke, in person, to the biologist there. She confirmed that the chemicals used to spray neighborhoods in Virginia Beach killed other insects, including bees. She also provided me with a label from the container that the poison is contained in. [To be shared here]

I have created a petition to stop the use of such chemicals in Virginia, and to encourage more eco-friendly mosquito population control. (See link below)


Thank you,

R.J. Shelton

Email from the biologist for Virginia Beach, July 30, 2019

Good afternoon Mr. Shelton,

The product used in the nighttime ULV spray trucks is Evoluer 4-4 ULV. The active ingredient is permethrin. This product is labeled by the EPA for use for public health and vector control. Permethrin products are commonly used by private mosquito control companies and local mosquito control agencies. The label is attached to this email.

We spoke yesterday about your concern for the bees after the treatment. You will notice that the label shows an environmental hazard to bees like we talked about. All of the pesticides currently available to control mosquitoes have this environment concern on the label. We are always looking to find new products approved by the EPA and labeled for public health use that work effectively. We strive to protect our environment and still provide control of potential virus carrying mosquitoes. This being said, we do offer the opportunity to opt-out of the nighttime spray truck treatment in front of your home. The ULV driver would turn the sprayer off in front of your property and turn it back on once past. If this is something you are interested in please call our customer service department, 757-385-1470 and put in a request to have a red tag installed on your mailbox.

Here's a link to the label for that product:

August 4, 2019

Dear neighbor –

It has been 10 days since the city sprayed my neighborhood, Lakeview Shores, for mosquitoes. The mosquitoes have returned, but the bees have not. The spray that the city uses contains permethrin, which not only kills mosquitoes, but kills bees, and other essential insects. It can cause problems in dogs, cats, and other animals. The U.S. EPA decided that permethrin was “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” if it was eaten. (see below)

In just a few days, we have gotten more than 200 signatures, but we need many more before we file this petition. Our goal is to get 10,000 Virginia residents to sign, but we welcome signatures from folks all over the US, as we will expand this campaign in the near future.

How Can You Help?

1. Sign our petition to stop mosquito spraying in Virginia here: (use button below)

2. Share this post, or make your own, in your neighborhood here on and other social media sites that you use; Facebook, Twitter, etc.

3. Invite your family and friends (over 18) to sign the petition too.

Thanks for your help!


R.J. Shelton
Virginia Beach, VA