2021 February: Bee Deaths, Dalby (Queensland). Pesticide: Fipronil

Bee deaths spark investigation after traces of chemical Fipronil found in hives



A southern Queensland beekeeper is desperate for answers after losing up to 600,000 honeybees to suspected poisoning by a controversial agricultural chemical.

Peter Donohoe, from Dalby, first contacted biosecurity officials after finding hundreds of dying bees on his property on Christmas morning.

“I went out and there are dead bees in front of every hive and bees dying at the same time,” he said.

“I tried to see what bees I could save and we started moving them and splitting [the hives].

“Exactly four weeks later the leftover bees that were there got hit again.”

Mr Donohoe shifted the survivors, mostly Italian bees, to a new location near the Dalby township but the deaths have continued up to this week.

He estimated 15 hives had been destroyed, while the remaining hives were weakened.

“It’s gut-wrenching. I can’t really cope with it,” he said.

“You’re left with an absolute mess of dead bees and empty boxes.