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Following national pollinator week, the thoughtless use of a controversial type of pesticide has killed more than 25,000 native bumblebees in Wilsonville, Oregon. The Oregon Department of Agriculture has completed tests that confirm that the bumblebees died as a direct result of the application of Safari, a neonicotinoid pesticide, that was applied inappropriately to more than 50 blooming linden trees in a Target parking lot. Beneficial ladybugs and honeybees were also found dead at the scene.
Our gentle native bumblebees may have a lower profile than the honeybee, but they are nonetheless a vital and effective pollinator across the country. These fuzzy, social insects are less likely to sting, and live in smaller colonies than the honeybee. They are industrious, the lazy-sounding hum of their wings in stark contrast to the number of flowers they visit every day.
The Wilsonville incident destroyed between 150 and 300 colonies. Some estimates put the toll as high as 50,000 bumblebees.
The use of neonicotinoid pesticides is under scrutiny by environmental groups for the very reason that it has a negative and cumulative impact on bees, particularly on honeybees, and may be contributing to colony collapse disorder. Some studies also show that neonicotinoids can last for a decade in the soil, and seeds coated in the pesticides are toxic to seed-eating birds.
Want to do something about our country's indescriminate use of this bee-killing pesticide? Petition Bob Perciasepe, the Acting Administrator and the Deputy Administrator of the EPA, to ban the use of this bee-killing pesticide.