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Follow up: More on the 'toxic chemical' that killed millions of bees in Escondido

San Diego bee sanctuary death
Posted at 6:09 PM, Jan 02, 2024

VALLEY CENTER, Calif. (KGTV) — Back in September, the San Diego Bee Sanctuary was devastated after millions of bees were found dead.

Now, the San Diego County Department of Agriculture says the bees tested positive for a toxic chemical.

The sanctuary has two locations. There is one in Valley Center. The other one is in Escondido. The sanctuary had to completely shut down the one in Escondido because millions of bees were poisoned.

"We got the findings from the agriculture department that it was a double lethal dose of Fipronil that killed the bees," says Paul Gunn from the San Diego Bee Sanctuary.

That is something officials from the county’s department of agriculture say is "very unusual." That’s because Fipronil is an insecticide used to kill termites and it's oftentimes sprayed around the house. 

"Fipronil is very toxic to the bees' nervous systems. It is a chain reaction. If the bees bring in the Fipronil to one hive or multiple hives, other hives will be affected" Gunn added.

Officials from the department of agriculture say they could not find any farms in the area that used the chemical. 

Dominick Peck from the sanctuary says is still unclear how the bees ingested the Fipronil, but they could have been targeted.

"We do suspect malice. All nearby orchards had no Fipronil. It could have been directed towards us. We cannot be sure. We are pulling out of the area," said Peck.

Gunn and Peck still have alot of bees at their location in Valley Center. They decided not to file a police report.

"It is part of the industry. Things like this can happen. Your livestock is flying. You cannot keep track of where they are going. It was not easy but we are picking up the pieces," said Peck.

If you would like to donate to the sanctuary visit