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Insecticides to blame for massive bee kill in Minneapolis

Posted: October 15, 2013 |   Comments

( Last September, thousands of bees were mysteriously found dead in Minneapolis. Considering the continuing decline in bee population that threatens drastic consequences for our environment, the University of Minnesota's Bee Lab and Bee Squad teamed up with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to investigate the cause of the massive die-off.

The investigators gathered samples of dead bees and sent them to a lab in North Carolina, where it was confirmed that the bees had been poisoned by fipronil, an insecticide commonly used by commercial companies around the foundations of buildings. According to the MDA, fipronil sprayed on a house's foundation likely got on nearby plants, and from there foraging bees accidently carried the chemical back the hive.

The investigators determined that the insecticide was not applied by state or local government workers. The poison was probably sprayed either commercially or by a resident. Since the incident occurred in a residential area, it would likely be difficult to find out who is responsible for the bee kill. The MDA said that it is not going to investigate the matter further.

This incident serves as a perfect example of the vast unintended consequences that chemicals can have on our environment and shows that, contrary to what is conventionally practiced, the utmost caution should be used when working with pesticides.

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