Billions of Bees Dropped Dead in Brazil within 3 months

More than half a billion bees have died in Brazil in just three months, according to Bloomberg. Scientists say the key reason of death is pesticides, which could end up effecting more than the bees. As some of the most essential pollinators in nature, bees contribute to the reproduction of numerous plants. Around 75% of the world's crops rely on pollination by bees, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) accounts.

Billions of Bees in Brazil, Drop Dead

FAO has cautioned about the significance of protecting bees to guarantee food security. With 500 million dead in Brazil, the future of food has come into question. The mass deaths of bees were informed by beekeepers in four Brazilian states. In Rio Grande do Sul alone, 400 million deceased bees were discovered. Aldo Machado, vice president of Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul beekeeping association, told Bloomberg his colony was destroyed in less than 48 hours after some of the bees first displayed signs of illness.

“As soon as the healthy bees began clearing the dying bees out of the hives, they became contaminated. They started dying en masse,” Machado said.

Lab research points to pesticides with neonicotinoids and fipronil — which are banned in Europe — as the main reason of death for most bees in Brazil. The use of these bee-killing pesticides increased under former President Michel Temer and present President Jair Bolsonaro, according to Greenpeace's Unearthed. In just three years, 193 weedkillers and pesticides made up of chemicals banned in the European Union were leegalized in Brazil, the unearthed enquiry revealed. Brazil has become the largest buyer of pesticides in the world.

While the mass deaths of bees in Brazil happened this year, the link between pesticides and the decrease of bee populations has long been studied. A 2014 studied from Harvard University discovered pesticides play an important role in massacre off the honey bee population in the U.S.

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has been affecting the U.S. bee population since 2006. The illness causes bees to vanish from their hives. While the root cause of CCD is an unknown, many specialists believe a combination of factors, comprising pesticides, are the driving force — particularly neonicotinoid pesticides.