The costco honeybee hive was shut down Tuesday after a scare sparked by a new strain of the virus.
The beekeeper who opened the hive at the mall in Bloomington, Ill., said he was surprised by the decision.
He said he has worked for Honey Bee for 25 years and said the hive was always a safe place.
“I’m very sad that we have to close the hive, I love my bees, and we will always have my bees,” said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Associated Press reported that it was the first hive at a large-scale U.S. retail store shut down due to the coronavirus.
Honey bee colonies have been suffering from the virus since it was first discovered in China in 2013.
About 3 million beekeepers in the United States depend on honeybee colonies to pollinate crops.
More than 10,000 U.K. honey bee colonies are also in the process of being taken down due the virus, the BBC reported.
“Honeybees are very important to us,” a manager at the store said.
“I don’t want them to go to China.
I want them here.”
The mall has about 500,000 honeybee workers, but the manager said it was too soon to say how many would be impacted.
He said he had received calls from people asking if they could return to the store.
The store had been operating normally since late May, he said.