A Polish court on Tuesday handed down a suspended four-month jail term to a woman it found guilty of killing two million bees through excessive use of an anti-mosquito product.
The woman, who was only identified by the court as Joanna S. because of privacy laws, was in charge of a municipal anti-mosquito spraying operation and was found to have used a pesticide without the necessary health ministry authorisation. Shortly after the operation, beekeepers found that as many as 358 bee colonies had been wiped out.
"The (anti-mosquito) operation could have also taken human lives," said Lucjan Furmanek, head of a beekeepers' association in Gorlice, southeastern Poland. "I hope the court decision will prevent other thoughtless environmental disasters," he added.
The Gorlice court's ruling opens the door for beekeepers to launch a civil lawsuit for damages in connection with mass bee death that occurred following the 2010 spraying operation. Flooding that year in the nearby town of Biecz caused an unusually high number of mosquitoes to breed in stagnant waters.