In what was a bit of a mystery, insect conservationists were startled to discover that 25,000 bees were found dead or dying in a Target parking lot in Oregon. Conservationists are in the process of trying to determine just what caused these bee deaths to happen, and whether or not it had anything to do with any excessive use of pesticides.
As it was reported on NewsMax, “the bees were found under a dozen of European linden trees Monday in Wilsonville,” which raised the question of whether the insects “were killed by a poisonous species of linden tree or by pesticide poisoning.”
Conservation biologist Rich Hatfield of the Xerxes Society, a nonprofit that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat, noted that the bees were “literally falling out of the trees”, and is working with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to determine whether pesticides were used by collecting samples of the bees.
Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the Xerxes Society, stated that “If the trees are indeed toxic, they should be cut down and replaced by something that will provide non-toxic pollen and nectar for bees.” He then added however, that “if pesticides are the cause, we need to spotlight this real-world lesson in the harm these toxic chemicals are causing to beneficial insects.”
The Agriculture Department is placing its focus on a pesticide known as Safari that was most recently applied in the area to control aphids. Safari is “part of a family of pesticides called neonicotinoids that are considered acutely toxic to pollinators.”
Program Manager Dale Mitchell of Agriculture Department has confirmed that bee samples are continuing to be analyzed to determine what killed them and this his investigation will “look at any potential pesticide use in the vicinity.”
Bees have become the poster-pollinator for the anti-pesticide movement. Colony Collapse Disorder, which leads bees to leave their hives or die mysteriously, has affected millions of bees worldwide in recent years. Pesticides common on fruit and vegetable crops have been pinpointed as the likely culprit. The European Union recently enacted a minimum two-year ban on neonicotinoids in attempts to protect the insects and reduce bee deaths.
Important to our food supply, as much as 30 percent of our fruits and vegetables are pollinated by bees, essentially for free. Losing bee populations would devastate world food production and lead to excessive price increases.
[Editor’s Note: As of June 26th, the bee deaths in Oregon have now totaled more than 50,000.]
Photo Credit: MightyBoyBrian
References: News Max