Photographer Captures Rare and Amazing Photos of North Carolina’s ‘Pollen Apocalypse’

A stock image of a bee
A stock image of a bee /

A photographer’s images of the recent “pollenpocalypse” in Durham, North Carolina, don’t exactly portend the end of days, but the high pollen count likely wreaked havoc on local residents’ allergies. According to, Jeremy Gilchrist’s photos of a yellow-green skyline appear as if they’ve been filtered, but the photographer swears “no tricks” were used in the capturing of these images.

While pollen is often associated with flowers, Durham’s pollen haze came from a variety of area trees, including pine, oak, and mulberry. During allergy season, trees have been known to drop massive “pollen bombs,” some of which contain up to a billion pollen grains.

Gilchrist used a drone to photograph these “pollen clouds,” which hung in the air and blanketed everything in sight, including cars, porches, and the ground. "It was surprising to see it up that high," Gilchrist, who has worked as a meteorologist, said while describing the green clouds to CNN.

A thunderstorm rolled in soon after the photos were taken, washing away the pollen and providing temporary respite, but meteorologists warned that the pollen count would soar to high levels on Thursday. So if you live in the area and suffer from allergy symptoms, you might want to wear a mask or wrap a breathable scarf around your mouth and nose when you step outside.

The nearby capital of Raleigh is the fifth-worst city in the U.S. for pollen right now, according to the Weather Channel. To track the pollen count in your city, check out’s interactive allergy map.