Oregon bees can breathe a little easier for the next six months. After a recent spraying of the Safari insecticide apparently killed tens of thousands of bees in a Target parking lot in Wilsonville, officials have responded by banning the pesticide for the next six months. The Oregon Department of Agriculture also banned any pesticides containing dinotefuran neonicotinoids across the state.
Over 50,000 bees appear to have been killed when workers sprayed the blooming linden trees in the Target parking lot in Wilsonville last month. The initial intent was to control aphids, but the bee and other pollinator deaths seem to be a side effect of the Safari spraying.
Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba is taking the bee deaths very seriously, and she has called for a temporary ban on a list of pesticides. During this time the department will investigate the connection between each pesticide and bee deaths. The ban calls for landscapers and gardener to cease using the pesticides for six months, but retailers will still be allowed to sell the products. The department feels the partial ban will stall bee deaths, giving them time to decide whether the products need to be fully removed from shelves or not.
The temporary ban is supported by the bee conservationist Xerces Society, which also feels signage stating the temporary restriction on the pesticides’ use is also necessary. After the 180 day investigation, the Oregon Department of Agriculture will reevaluate if Safari is safe for gardeners and landscapers to use.