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Bumblebees, honeybees and ladybugs – the happy insects of summer – took a hard hit on Sunday when tens of thousands of them were discovered dead in a Target parking lot in Oregon.
Bumblebees fared the worst, with an estimated 25,000 dead and 150 colonies lost; this at the beginning of National Pollinator Week, no less. Bumble bees are crucial to farming in western Oregon, where they are vital pollinators of many berry and seed crops.
“They were literally falling out of the trees," said Rich Hatfield, a conservation biologist with the nonprofit bee-advocating Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. "To our knowledge this is one of the largest documented bumble bee deaths in the Western U.S. It was heartbreaking to watch.”
Together, the Xerces Society and the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) collected samples of the dead insects.
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