Mass bee die-offs reported in Portland Oregon area

Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is investigating at least three Portland-area mass bee die-offs that appear to be linked to pesticides.

Beekeepers in several locations have reported entire colonies dying suddenly.

Estacada beekeeper Jon Beaty checked his hives Wednesday night.

“I noticed that there were hundreds of bees lying on the ground in front of the hives dead, which was shocking to me,” Beaty said.

Sandy beekeeper Dena Rash Guzman noticed tens of thousands of dead bees in and around two of her eight hives Wednesday.

“I live in the middle of nowhere on a 60-acre sustainable farm,” she said. “We’ve had beehives here for four years and never have had this happen.”

Guzman called expert Matt Reed, owner of Portland’s Bee Thinking beekeeper supply store, who came out to take a look.

“When a honeybee colony dies en masse like that, usually it is pesticides,” Reed said. “A lot of them were dropping off the combs as I inspected them.”

Reed said he’s seen a rash of similar reports on Portland-area beekeeping Facebook forums this week.

Beaty and Guzman suspect aerial spraying of nearby nurseries and Christmas tree farms.

An ODA pesticide investigator took samples at the hives Friday morning, ODA spokesman Bruce Pokarney said.


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