Wilsonville OR. — Tens of thousands of bumble bees and other pollinators were found dead under trees at the Target store in Wilsonville on Monday, June 17th. The discovery was a strange and ironic start to National Pollinator Week, a symbolic annual event intended to raise public awareness about the plight of bees.
The massive bee kill was first documented on Monday by Rich Hatfield, a conservation biologist with the Portland-based Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Several shoppers at the store called him to report that there were dead and dying bees all over the parking lot. Specifically, the bees were clustered under dozens of European linden trees. The Xerces Society is internationally known for their work on bee conservation.
Rich Hatfield estimated there were at least 25,000 dead bumble bees at the site, a number that likely represents the loss of more than 150 colonies. There were also dead honey bees, lady bird beetles and other beneficial insects. Bumble bees are especially important to agriculture in western Oregon, where they are considered vital pollinators of many berry crops and Willamette Valley seed crops.