A woman in Gorlice, Poland, was handed a jail sentence on Wednesday after she killed two million bees in a “thoughtless environmental disaster”.
The court gave the woman a suspended four-month term after she was found guilty of excessively using an anti-mosquito spray on a large scale. Bee experts said she could have also injured humans.
Named only Joanna S. for legal reasons, she killed the bees while she was in charge of a municipal anti-mosquito spraying operation in 2010, armed with a pesticide that she was not authorised to use.
Ms S was managing the cull after flooding in the nearby town of Biecz caused an unusually high number of mosquitos to breed in stagnant waters.
“The (anti-mosquito) operation could have also taken human lives,” said Lucjan Furmanek, head of a beekeepers' association in Gorlice, south-eastern Poland, a Polish news agency reported.
“I hope the court decision will prevent other thoughtless environmental disasters,” he added.
It is thought beekeepers in the area may use the ruling as a reason to claim damages in connection with Ms S’s actions.