When thousands of Minneapolis bees died last month, “spilling out of the hive” like they were “drunk,” as one apiarist put it, the University of Minnesota and the state’s ag department were called in.
The University Bee Lab, the Bee Squad and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture conducted tests to confirm that pesticide had caused the deaths.
The MDA tests reported that all three hives tested positive for the presence of fipronil, an insecticide used on building foundations, Bee Squad coordinator Becky Masterman said.
The MDA’s report said someone in the area likely used the pesticide within a foot of a building’s foundation and sprayed it on bee-friendly flowers. Bees from all three colonies interacted with the plants and brought the insecticide back to their hives, Masterman said.
It’s unknown who sprayed the pesticide, and the MDA won’t investigate the incident further, the report said.