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Pesticides linked to bee deaths banned

The Oregon Department of Agriculture, responding to a series of bee deaths traced to pesticides, enacted a narrow new regulation earlier this month barring the use of four types of pesticides.

In the most alarming incident, about 50,000 bumblebees in Wilsonville died suddenly in June 2013, which scientists traced to pesticides sprayed on linden trees at the Target department store.

A short time later, thousands more dead bees were found under a linden tree in downtown Hillsboro. Even though the Hillsboro linden trees were sprayed with Safari several months before the bee deaths were reported, it’s unclear whether the pesticide killed the bumblebees.

Effective Feb. 27, the agriculture department banned “the application of any product containing dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, or clothianidin, regardless of application method, to linden trees, basswood trees or other Tilia species.”

The new rule was proposed by the Oregon Pollinator Health Task Force created by the ag department after the wave of bee-killing incidents.

— Steve Law

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