After die off, new measures announced to protect bees

After die off, new measures announced to protect bees
FILE - Rich Hatfield of the Xerces Society holds a plastic test tube full of dead bumblebees he collected in a Target parking lot in Wilsonville in June. He and his partner determined the bees were exposed to an insecticide that is toxic to them.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has announced extra safety measures to prevent the kinds of bee deaths seen over the summer in Wilsonville and Hillsboro.

In June, 50,000 bumble bees died and fell from trees at the Target store in Wilsonville. The Xerxes Society called it the largest bumble bee kill ever documented. Not long after, hundreds of bees were found dead in Hillsboro.

The deaths were linked to trees that were sprayed with a pesticide used to kill aphids. The pesticide contained the chemical Dinotefuran.

On Tuesday, the ODA told KATU that it will now require that pesticides containing the active ingredients Dinotefuran and Imidacloprid will need special labeling.

The new labels will explain that there is a ban on using the pesticides on Linden, Basswood, or Tilia species of trees. These trees attract the bee population.

The pesticides will still be allowed on other plant species.

The ODA will also increase outreach and education efforts to teach pesticide users how to protect bees.

The bee incident in Oregon could pave the way for changes across the country. The ODA said it sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The letter asks for more evaluation of the active ingredients in pesticides to figure out if nationwide limitations should be considered.