Bee Kill-off: Number of Bumblebees Killed Upped to 50,000

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Bee kill-off: The spraying of an insecticide killed 25,000 bees on June 24–but the number of bumblebees killed in the incident has now been upped to 50,000, says the Oregon Department of Agriculture. 

The bees were killed by a landscape company spraying the insecticide dinotefuran, according to the Portland Tribune.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture confirmed the deaths were from the insecticide while raising the estimated number of bees killed to 50,000, according to the Oregonian.

Bees were dropping from 55 linden trees in a Target parking lot in Wilsonville, Oregon, reported the Tribune several days ago, citing Rich Hatfield, a conservation biologist with the Portland-based Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

“They were literally falling out of the trees,” said Hatfield. “To our knowledge this is one of the largest documented bumblebee deaths in the Western U.S. It was heartbreaking to watch.”

Hatfield’s estimate of bees killed was 25,000, but that number has now been doubled.

The insecticide was used to control the honeydew that the aphids produce, Dan Hilburn, the plants division director at the department of agriculture, told the Oregonian. But a Target representative said no customers complained about honeydew dripping on themselves or any cars, and the Xerces Society said that honeydew can be controlled without insecticides, such as using soapy water to spray them.

Dale Mitchell of the state Agriculture Department told the media outlet that the state is investigating any possible violation of pesticide laws; the investigation could take up to four months.

The trees were covered with netting on June 21 to try to prevent any more insect deaths.

“My worry is that we’re going to lose sight of the real message,” said Mace Vaughan of the Xerces Society. “I think we’re (using insecticides) all over the place, and people are doing it in their backyards without even knowing it.” 

 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article contained a photo of honey bees. The Epoch Times regrets the error.


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  • John Cunningham

    And Portland sneers at the rest of the country in their environmental superiority. HA! Make the landscape company purchase and relocate bees to Oregon.

    • Beatriz Moisset

      The article is about bumble bees. How are you going to relocate native bumble bees to Oregon?

  • stephenverchinski

    Wait until they discover that Roundup and Weed b Gone are making it into the groundwater supplies and poisoning humans. Please have the EPA adopt the Precautionary Principle.

    • Deborah Hunter

      Absolutely! More people need to educate themselves and get involved. Change for the good only seems to happen from the grass roots up. The internet is a great tool for spreading awareness. Wish more of us were less shy about utilizing social media for the betterment of our world.

  • Randall McCarroll

    Bayer comes out with this new insecticide beekeepers start loosing 40% + of their hives yet because Bayer has congress in its back pocket nothings done oh wait a minute we have colony collapse disorder [ and no one knows what causes it ] yea right! here’s a simple fact over 60% of the worlds food must be pollinated by bees or it wont grow fruit this means less bees less food no bees =no food alfalfa is one think of all the live stock that eats alfalfa and it must be pollinated by bees, can any one say beef shortage

  • Beatriz Moisset

    Wrong illustration for this article. Is it so hard to obtain a picture
    of a bumble bee? Or are people so fixated on honey bees that they can’t
    see anything else? The importance of this difference is that honey bees
    are not native, while bumble bees are. This is the first report of a
    die-off of native pollinators in such a scale.

    • Beatriz Moisset

      Thank you! I see that you followed my suggestion. That is a bumble bee!

  • Beatriz Moisset

    The dead bees in this case are native bumble bees, not the non native honey bee. So the illustration is incorrect and misleading. I hope you replace it. The significance of this event is that it documents the death of native pollinators, a matter not well studied or documented.


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