Killing bees by the use of insecticides drives environmentalists crazy, and all the concern about reduced bee populations in the wild and in commercial hives for agricultural crops pollination places every bee-kill story as national news.
The most recent large-scale pollinator kill occurred at Wilsonville, Ore, on June 18 when a landscaper crew decided to not follow label directions and sprayed blooming “European linden trees” with an insecticide. (Oregon Dept. of Agriculture has not officially ruled.) This just happened to occur during Pollinator Week, which is conducted to call attention to the value and need to preserve our pollinators.
Reports are that there were at least 50 big linden trees on property next to a Target store, and bees, mainly bumblebees, were dead all around the trees and parking lot. The estimate was 25,000 dead bees.
Nationally there are outcries about killing bees comparable to if someone killed a cat or dog. The bee deaths are a tragedy, and those responsible should be prosecuted because of their stupidity. The light has been shining on farmers about their use of insecticides to grow crops. If a farmer willingly misuses or ignores label restrictions, they are subject to prosecution, but how many untrained “landscapers” and city dwellers are killing bees continuously without much attention paid.
Remember that bees will travel something like five miles from their hives to gather nectar and pollinate crops; so, those linden-tree bees could also have had responsibility for pollinating crops at the same time or later in the year.
Of course, in Oregon where this latest incident occurred, the call by some is for more restrictions on the use of pesticides in general and basically outlawing the use of insecticides by homeowners and business park owners for “cosmetic reasons.” Those environmentalists don’t seem to realize how insects can kill trees and shrubs if pests are not controlled, and because of their environmental sensitivity, they should appreciate their trees and shrubs, too.
The pollinators can be protected by everyone following the label on insecticides to the fullest degree and using what would seem like common sense—not completely banning insecticide use.