WILSONVILLE, Ore. — Beekepers are asking people to be careful with pesticides, this comes after 25,000 bees were found dead in a Wilsonville parking lot. Officials say those bees died because someone failed to follow label recommendations on a product called “Safari” and beekeepers say it’s becoming a widespread epidemic.
Pesticide use is just one of many threats contributing to this decline and Safari is one of the pesticides getting the most attention. It contains a family of active ingredients called Neonicotinoids that essentially saturates the flower.
“The poison is actually produced within the nectar and pollen, and when the bees come to gather they’re actually taking them home to the hive with them,” said Rick Hilton with the OSU Extension Service.
Because of that, these pesticides contain clearly marked labels. As a general rule, they can only be applied at certain times, and never to flowering plants.
But experts like Hilton say even if the label is followed, the testing that goes into it isn’t exactly complete.
“Not all the possible non-target organisms are tested. Only the main insects such as honeybees where we run into problems, that’s where the testing is focused,” said Hilton.
The dead bees in Wilsonville were mostly bumblebees, which have been susceptible to products like Safari in the past, even when used properly. Beekeepers say that testing needs to be looked at, but until then, follow the label. If bees continue to die, they say everyone will be affected.
“Bees pollinate a minimum of a third of our diet,” said local beekeeper John Jacob. “If you’re eating healthy, it’s probably closer to a half.”
Experts with the OSU Extension Service say pesticides like this are fine as long as you carefully follow the label. If you do want to look at alternatives, they say they offer instruction on the many that are available.