Mystery solved: Beekeeper identifies ‘weird, brown stuff’ falling on Northside

Beekeeper believes it’s ‘insect poo’

Residents of a Northside Jacksonville community are still cleaning up unusual brown-yellow stuff that fell on their cars and driveways. News4JAX reporter Zac Lashway spoke with a beekeeper who has says he's solved the mystery.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – What’s described as “weird, brown stuff” that’s falling on cars and driveways in the Cedarbrook community on Jacksonville’s Northside has left residents scratching their heads.

But a beekeeper believes he’s solved the mystery.

“I do believe it is insect poo from, possibly, honeybees,” said Michael Leach, a beekeeper with Bee Friends Farm. “This time of year, these bees are most active. We’re entering in the peak time of the spring, and the bees are flying every day, looking for pollen and nectar for their food sources.”

Leach told News4Jax this happens all over. He said bees are very hygienic and will not defecate within their colonies. They use the restroom, if you will, while in flight.

“There’s most likely a large colony or multiple colonies in the area that are causing this,” Leach said. “Sometimes when colonies get an infection called Nosema, it causes dysentery, and they can’t hold it, and it actually just comes out freely, randomly.”

Leach said people should not be worried about this.

“No, this is totally a natural event,” he said.

Cedarbrook resident Victoria Nunnally was relieved to hear that.

“That’s kind of good to know,” Nunnally said. “I think people were just wondering what it was and where it was coming from. I think people had some concerns environmentally -- is this human, is this not human?”

Capt. Wayne Ziskal, an associate professor of aviation at Jacksonville University and retired American Airlines pilot, confirmed the droppings did not come from an airplane.

“The ability to dump the lavs on the aircraft can only be initiated from a lever on the outside of the aircraft inside a panel where the hose is connected to dump the tank from the lavs,” Ziskal wrote in an email to News4Jax. “As you know from flying on commercial aircraft and visiting the bathroom, the flushing process introduces blue fluid into the mixture that collects in the holding tank. This tank is then drained at the airport into a truck that takes the waste away to be treated. The blue fluid on the aircraft is then replenished and the aircraft is ready to go.”

On Sunday, Cedarbrook residents were cleaning up the substance. Nunnally said she’s had to wash her car three times.

“It’s been us going to the car wash time and time again, trying to get it all off of it,” Nunnally said. “It’s still kind all over the hood and on the back of it.”

Leach said that if the bees are sick, they could perish soon. But either way, he suspects they will change direction as their flight will follow flowers in bloom.

If you’ve noticed similar stuff on your property, upload a photo or video to under the breaking news channel.

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