The Oregon Department of Agriculture announced six fines totaling $2,886 in connection with incidents last summer in which thousands of bumblebees were killed by pesticide applicators.
Three of the civil penalties stemmed from the largest incident, in Wilsonville. An estimated 50,000 bumblebees died after European linden trees were sprayed with dinotefuran. Landscapers intending to control aphids sprayed the trees in a Target store parking lot and wiped out bees foraging in the trees. Smaller bee kills happened in Hillsboro, West Linn and downtown Portland.
Collier Arbor Care of Clackamas, a licensed commercial pesticide company, was fined $555 for applying pesticide in a faulty, careless or negligent manner in the Wilsonville case, the agriculture department said. Two applicators, Mark McMullen of Beaverton and Sean Rinault of Woodburn, also were fined $555. The ag department said the pesticide label states the product is hazardous to bees when applied to flowering trees.
Collier Arbor Care was fined $407 for the downtown Portland incident. The applicators, Sean Rinault and Ray Duval of Estacada, were each issued civil penalties also in the amount of $407.
The fines are a followup to action announced in November, when the department said it will require an unusual state-specific label on the use of pesticides containing the active ingredients dinotefuran and imidacloprid. The state action bans the pesticide use on linden and basswood trees, which are among the Tilia species.