More than 100 people gathered in a Wilsonville, Oregon, parking lot outside the Target store on Sunday in a memorial to the tens of thousands of bees that died there.
“It’s not only happening in parking lots of Target stores, and things like that,” said bee memorial organizer Rozzell Medina. “It’s also happening in people’s backyards, and it’s happening all over the world.” Roughly 50,000 bees were killed in Wilsonville and Hillsboro last week after they were exposed to a pesticide sprayed on at least 55 nearby trees in bloom. The bee deaths marked what is being considered the largest “bee kill” on record.
And the Oregon Department of Agriculture isn’t taking any chances. It is now temporarily restricting the use of 18 pesticides which contain the active ingredient dinotefuran.
Organizers of Sunday’s afternoon memorial said they were trying to draw attention to what could now be a serious problem.
They pointed out the crucial role bees play in pollinating crops and said someone needs to stand up for the insects.
They said they’re worried about the endangerment of bees worldwide and the impact their extinction could have on the earth.
Jacqueline Freeman spoke at the memorial. She’s a beekeeper from Battle Ground, who showed a video of a recent bee kill on her property that she said also was caused by pesticides. She said her bees brought the poison to the hive from some other property.
“There’s nothing I can do to get the poison off of them,” Freeman said. “They’re doomed.”