June 19, 2013 at 8:07 PM
Tree-spraying blamed in deaths of some 25,000 bumblebees
WILSONVILLE, Ore. — Thousands of dead and dying bees have been found in the parking lot of a shopping center in Wilsonville, southwest of Portland. Oregon officials investigating the kill say it appears blooming trees in the lot were recently sprayed with a type of insecticide known to be toxic to bees.
A biologist with the Portland-based Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation estimates at least 25,000 bumblebees have been killed. State Agriculture Department director of plant programs Dan Hilburn confirms “thousands of dead bees” and says he’s never seen a similar kill.
Dale Mitchell is a program manager in the Agriculture Department’s pesticides program. He says a primary focus of his investigation is a pesticide called Safari that was applied in the area last Saturday to control aphids. It’s part of a family of chemicals considered highly toxic to bees.
A report on the bee kill was carried in The Oregonian.
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