150 Bee Colonies Die in Target Parking Lot

Pesticide blamed

Adam Roy

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Biologists in Oregon are investigating what caused the mass die-off of 25,000 bees found in a Target parking lot this week. As of Wednesday, the insects, the equivalent of approximately 150 colonies, were still falling out of a cluster of European linden trees near the store.

“I’ve never encountered anything quite like it in 30 years in the business,” Dan Hilburn, the director of plant program’s for Oregon’s Agriculture Department told the Oregonian.

Initial tests suggested the bees had died after the trees had been sprayed with Safari, a member of the neonicotinoid class of pesticides, which are highly toxic to all insects and have been blamed for collapses of bee colonies around the U.S. The company that applied the chemical could be fined up to $10,000 if found to have violated any state or federal laws.

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