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Environment | Ecotrope

State Restricts Pesticide Use To Avoid More Bee Kills

Thousands of dead and dying bees dropped from European linden trees that had been sprayed with the insecticide Safari.

Thousands of dead and dying bees dropped from European linden trees that had been sprayed with the insecticide Safari.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is temporarily restricting the use of 18 pesticide products that contain the active ingredient that killed thousands of bumblebees in Wilsonville last week.

Dinotefuran is the active ingredient in the insecticide Safari, which was used on 55 blooming linden trees in a Wilsonville target parking lot earlier this month.

The chemical application was intended to kill aphids because they produce a honeydew substance that drops from the trees onto parked cars. But it also killed an estimated 500,000 bumblebees, according to ODA.

The agency is still investigating the bumblebee kill in Wilsonville, as well another smaller kill in Hillsboro. In a news release today, ODA said the temporary rule is being taken “in an abundance of caution” to avoid the potential for similar bee kills.

“I have directed the agency to take this step in an effort to minimize any potential for additional incidents involving bee deaths connected to pesticide products with this active ingredient until such time as our investigation is completed and we have more information,” said ODA Director Katy Coba. “Conclusions from the investigation will help us and our partners evaluate whether additional steps need to be considered.”

The rule prohibits products containing dinotefuran from being applied to ornamental trees and shrubs, nursery and greenhouse plants, turfgrass, and agricultural crops by both professional applicators and homeowners.

It’s intended to avoid impacts to pollinators such as bumblebees. Products with the active ingredient dinotefuran registered in Oregon for other uses, such as flea and tick control on pets or home ant and roach control, are not affected by the restriction.

The rule goes into effect immediately and will be enforced for 180 days.

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