One day last week, 50,000 bumblebees were killed in Wilsonville, Oregon. A landscaper had sprayed blooming linden trees with Safari, a product containing dinotefuran. The ingredient is a systemic insecticide classified as a neonicotinoid, a relative of nicotine that acts on the nervous system of insects.
Another June bee kill occurred in the town of Hillsboro. Bumblebees were innocently doing their pollination duty.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture immediately suspended the use of 18 products containing dinotefuran “to minimize any potential for additional incidents involving bee deaths connected to pesticide products with this active ingredient until such time as our investigation is completed and we have more information,” announced ODA director Katy Coba.
Among the products the department listed on its website are Safari 20 SG; Safari 2 G Insecticide among others. Homeowner products temporarily banned include Green Light Tree & Shrub Insect Control with Safari Ready-to-Use; Green Light 5-5-5 Tree & Shrub with Safari Insect Control + Fertilizer Concentrate; Ortho Tree & Shrub Insect Control Granules; Ortho 5-5-5 Tree & Shrub Insect Control Plus Miracle-Gro Plant Food Concentrate.
Additionally, products that were voluntarily cancelled by registrants in 2011, but still may be lurking in storage, include Venom 20 SG Insecticide; Spectracide Systemic Tree & Shrub Insect Control + Fertilizer Concentrate 10-8-8 and Spectracide Systemic Rose &Flowering Shrub Insect Control + Fertilizer Concentrate 10-8-8.
The online site Oregonlive.com (the online version of The Oregonian newspaper) reported that the state would wrap the canopies of the trees at the Wilsonville shopping center to keep away pollinating bees. The editorial board of the paper wrote: "Oregon's probe should be as robust as possible and shed light on policies governing the use of insecticides. The...events are loud signals that need to be heard and understood."