Experts now estimate 50,000 bumblebees were killed outside a Target store last weekend in what is the largest case of mass bee deaths on record.
Pesticide poisoning from a product known as Safari is the likely cause of the bumblebee deaths.
On Friday, city crews in Wilsonville were hustling to cover dozens of trees around the Target store parking lot.
Mace Vaughn, a bee and pollination expert, said the fact that the bees were killed in an urban area is "probably the only reason it came to our attention."
"This is certainly the largest documented bumblebee kill from an insecticide that we know of anywhere in the country ever," Vaughan said.
The city of Wilsonville needed a plan to address the bee deaths and came up with one quickly. Crews began wrapping a mesh fabric around the trees in question Friday morning, limiting access to the bees while still allowing the trees to get sunlight.
Time was of the essence as it took about 30 minutes for crews to wrap each tree.
"We definitely have a serious concern for the quality of life for insects that are vital to our existence," said Jon Westdahl, who works nearby.
Crews hope to have all the trees wrapped before the end of the weekend.
Vaughan said the incident is a good learning experience for anyone who has a yard.
"This sort of product is the same type of thing you can get in a hardware store and you wouldn't even know it. There's no label or instructions on it that suggest that using this product at home would kill bees the same way," Vaughan said.
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