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SALEM -- The Oregon Department of Agriculture says the thousands of honey bees found dead along Highway 99 in Sherwood may have been hit by cars.

Department spokesman Bruce Pokarney says an investigator went to the site Monday and found about 30 commercial hives on a nearby lot with a vacant house.

Pokarney says the only dead bees found were along the highway, not around the hives, leading the investigator to think a swarm may have been hit by passing cars.

The investigator also sent some of the dead bees to Oregon State University, where an expert will check them for pesticides, disease and parasites.

Last year, tens of thousands of bees were found dead in a Wilsonville shopping center. Two companies were fined for spraying pesticide that killed the bees.

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