Bug spray blamed for bee kill

The police investigation into the mass slaughter of millions of apiary bees in forests around Batemans Bay is expected to ramp up after an examination of dead bees and hives revealed insecticide.The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed the chemical Permethrin, a common household insecticide, was used and the information has now been given to police.More than 1200 hives containing between 50,000 and 70,000 bees have been destroyed in what has all the hallmarks of industrial sabotage against seven major beekeeping operators.EPA southeast region acting manager Julian Thompson said the agency tested samples taken last week from affected hives located at three different sites in the national parks.Dead bees, hives and honeycomb material swabs underwent chemical analysis and many tested positive to Permethrin.However a couple of samples had not tested positive, possibly because the chemical spray had not landed where the swabs were taken.Mr Thompson said it was a common insecticide found in fly and bug sprays, as well as head lice scrubs, and was likely be difficult to trace.“It is registered for use in over 100 products, common, off-the-shelf products that can be purchased at supermarkets and hardware stores,” he said.“We presume this has been the cause of deaths of the bees.”Mr Thompson said the indications were that the chemical had been intentionally sprayed on the hives.The EPA provided the testing service to help police with the investigation.Beekeeper Laurie Kershaw, who lost a load of 131 hives off Clyde Road, said the DPI had also confirmed the poison used was Permethrin.John Casey, who lost an undisclosed number hives at two sites off the Western Distributor and Old Nelligen Road, like all the keepers is mystified by who would commit such a crime.He said the people would have to know what they were doing and, even at night, wear protective gear to avoid being stung because the bees would have reacted angrily to the spray.Beekeeper Pat Roberts lost 240 hives and said it would be a slow process to rebuild bee numbers.“We don’t know if these people will strike again, that’s our biggest worry,” he said. “Obviously there had to be more than one person.”Police have formed an operation named “Barragoot” to investigate the case and are interviewing witnesses and victims involved in the incident.Police ask anyone who has information that may assist the investigation to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.