Letter to the Editor
Wilsonville bees killed by pesticides
Corey Buchanan's Sept. 7 article, "Wilsonville event sparks bee research breakthrough," highlights valuable new information to help explain the natural phenomenon of bumble bees dying under linden (Tilia) trees.
Unfortunately, the article may inadvertently mislead people
to believe that it is OK to use neonicotinoid insecticides on Tilia trees. That's a dangerous misinterpretation of existing science.
The study discussed in Buchanan's article actually clarifies that pesticides were responsible for the Wilsonville incident. Furthermore, the pesticide registrant Valent contributed to research that recommends avoiding many neonicotinoid uses on bee-attractive trees, even when the application occurs months before bloom.
My own experiences support that recommendation. I have witnessed bees dying under Tilia trees after neonicotinoids were applied and reviewed official incident reports that document toxic contamination levels from legal applications.
While as early as the 1600s people noted that Tilia trees can harm bees, the role of highly toxic, long-lived systemic insecticides in current pollinator declines must be considered and controlled. If we are to succeed in our efforts to bring back the pollinators we cannot downplay any of the risks that bees face.
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