While massive bee die-offs are troubling no matter where they take place, I suppose that the over 50,000 victims — including 25,000 bumblebees along with honeybees and ladybugs — of last week’s grisly api-cide in a Target parking lot were lucky to have perished, during National Pollinator week no less, in the vicinity of Portland, Ore., a town that cares about all of Earth’s creatures; a town the fosters bio-diversity atop big box stores; a town that is willing to hold memorial services for slain insects.
Yep, a memorial service for the dearly departed Wilsonville bees — subject to what’s believed to be the largest documented bee death in the Western United States — is in the works. It will be held this coming Sunday at the Wilsonville Target where the bees were found, confirmed victims of a “super-systemic” neonicotinoid-class pesticide called Safari that's used on mealybugs, whiteflys, apids and other crop-damaging critters. A landscaping firm had applied Safari to 65 linden trees around the Target store a couple of days before the dead and dying bees were discovered (the trees have since been netted to prevent any further fatalities).
Sound familiar? This past April, Neonicotinoids were positively outlawed in the E.U. after being ID’d by researchers as a key contributor to colony collapse disorder (meanwhile, the EPA continues to take its sweet time in addressing this urgent issue).
The Wilsonville Bees Memorial itself is being organized by Portland resident Rozzell Medina.
He writes on the event Facebook page:
On Sunday June 30, 2013 at 2:00 PM, please join us at the site where an estimated 50,000 bees were killed by humans who sprayed the toxic pesticide, Safari. We will memorialize these fallen lifeforms and talk about the plight of the bees and their importance to life on Earth. If you are passionate, concerned, or curious about this situation, this will be a good opportunity to communicate with others. As you may know, this is a very crucial moment for bees, as they are dying in the millions, unnaturally, worldwide. Their unnatural deaths are being caused by humans applying chemical pesticides to the earth and its plants. In addition to the injustice and brutality of this situation for the bees that are being murdered, there are far-reaching effects for humans, who rely on bees to pollinate our crops. It is widely agreed that the endangerment and extinction of bees will have devastating consequences for humans and other lifeforms, which makes this an urgent opportunity to honor them and advocate for them.
As of publication, a total of 54 concerned citizens will be attending the event. Those who cannot attend are encouraged to send Medina a personal eulogy which will be read at the service.
Although rather apropos, I’d say it would be in poor taste to arrive with flowers. Instead, the best way to honor the slain Wilsonville bees is to keep informed of issues affecting nature’s most crucial pollinators and join the ongoing fight to ban bee-killing pesticides that the EPA continues to permit.
Related on MNN:
- What a grocery store without bees looks like
- British home improvement giants to banish bee-harming products