Mon, Aug 19, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Bees poisoned by illegal pesticide spraying

By Wu Liang-yi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The death of bees in Nantou County’s Puli Township (埔里) last week was due to illegal pesticide spraying by betel nut farmers, the Council of Agriculture said on Saturday.

Most of the pollen on the dead bees originated from Bidens alba, or shepherd’s needles, which are usually found near betel nut trees, so their cause of death is believed to have been the spread of residual pesticide around betel nut orchards, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Deputy director Tsou Hui-chuan (鄒慧娟) said.

Samples tested by the Agricultural Research and Extension Station were found to contain the insecticide fipronil, leading it to conclude that the bees had been poisoned while gathering pollen from flora near betel nut orchards, the council said.

Of the 94 bee farmers in the Nantou region, more than 40 suffered losses ranging from 10 to 90 percent of their bee colonies, it said.

The council said spraying betel nut trees with pesticide is illegal, as it has not approved any sort of pesticide for use on betel nuts.

It would assist bee farmers in seeking reparations, the council said, adding that it is considering the possibility of establishing regulations that would manage and prevent the use of harmful substances in betel nut orchards and is also looking into possible methods that would decrease the spread of sprayed pesticide.

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