Ag Dept. issues bee death fines

By Oregon Dept. of Agriculture

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has issued two civil penalties totaling $16,000 in connection with a pesticide application this summer that left an estimated 1,000 bees dead at a north Eugene apartment complex. An investigation performed by ODA’s Pesticides Program determined that Glass Tree Care and Spray Service, Inc. and its pesticide applicator violated Oregon’s Pesticide Control Law through gross negligence.

The company, a commercial pesticide operator based in Eugene, has been issued a $10,000 civil penalty for performing a pesticide application in a faulty, careless, or negligent manner. In addition, the applicator in the incident, James P. Mischkot, Jr. of Eugene, was issued a $6,000 civil penalty.

ODA’s investigation found that Mischkot applied a pesticide product containing the active ingredient imidacloprid on the grounds of the apartment complex in June, including 17 linden trees– the same tree species involved in bee death incidents last year in Oregon. The trees in the Eugene incident were in full bloom and attracting pollinators. Last year, based on the high profile incidents of bee deaths, ODA adopted a required label statement on pesticide products containing imidacloprid and dinotefuran prohibiting the application of these products on linden trees and other Tilia species. In the past year, ODA has conducted extensive outreach and education of commercial pesticide applicators and operators regarding pollinator protection.

Anticipating the presence of pollinators is part of the reasonable standard of care for pesticide application activities in Oregon. In this case, ODA determined that the company and its applicator knew or should have known of this aspect of the expected standard of care, and disregarded it.

ODA is authorized to issue a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for violations that are the result of gross negligence.

Individuals receiving enforcement actions from ODA can contest the notice through an administrative hearing.

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