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500 Million Bees Have Died In Brazil In Just Three Months

500 Million Bees Have Died In Brazil In Just Three Months

The mass death of bees is not a good sign, and it could spell doom for our food supply chain. The reason for their deaths is to be blamed for the use of pesticides, most of which are banned in other countries.

Beekeepers have found more than 500 million bees dead in four Brazilian states — 400 million in Rio Grande do Sul, 7 million in São Paulo, 50 million in Santa Catarina and 45 million in Mato Grosso do Sul  — in a span of three months reports People. Aldo Machado, beekeeper and vice president of Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul beekeeping association told Bloomberg that within 48 hours, several thousands of honey bees in his colony died after falling sick. "As soon as the healthy bees began clearing the dying bees out of the hives, they became contaminated. They started dying en masse," he said.


 
 
 
 
 
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The huge death in bees occurred between December 2018 and March 2019 and pesticides are to be blamed believe researchers.  Brazil's extreme use of harsh and deadly chemicals are the reason behind these deaths. SciDev.Net shockingly reported that Brazil has approved almost 300 new pesticides to be used on crops since January. According to Greenpeace’s Unearthed investigation, the total number of pesticides in use has reached over 1,200 in the past three years.


 
 
 
 
 
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Of these 1, 200 pesticides, most of them are banned in other countries as they are considered to be dangerous. The dead bees have traces of toxic pesticides as discovered by researchers.  Remnants of fipronil, an insecticide commonly used for veterinary use on dogs and cats to control fleas and ticks, have been found on them. According to Bloomberg, it is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency.


 
 
 
 
 
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People are worried about what the deaths of the bees mean for food supply, and for good reason. Almost 75 percent of the world’s food crops rely on pollination reports the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as bees are one of the largest groups of pollinators. In addition, it is not a comforting thought to know that pesticides found in the dead bees would spell out for food safety and the risk of pesticide residue on the food consumers purchase.


 
 
 
 
 
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"The death of all these bees is a sign that we’re being poisoned," Carlos Alberto Bastos, president of the Apiculturist Association of Brazil’s Federal District, told Bloomberg. Nearly 20 percent of samples had pesticide residues higher than the required levels as indicated by the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency. As a result, Brazilians have turned to organic produce out of fear despite the country being in recession.


 
 
 
 
 
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Brazil’s health ministry reported 15,018 cases of agricultural pesticide poisoning in 2018 but acknowledged that this is likely an underestimate. Andresa Batista, a 30-year-old mother of three, went to work in March 2018, but she started feeling dizzy and nauseated — and then she passed out. More than 40 farmhands fell ill that day, according to Batista, so many that they were divided into three groups and taken to different hospitals.


 
 
 
 
 
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It was reported that the first medical team that took care of her fell ill, too, so they destroyed all her clothes. Two days later, she was cleared for work but fell sick again. Over a year later, Batista still can’t work. She has difficulty eating without vomiting, can’t go to the toilet without medicine, can’t go in the sun without her skin swelling and she’s lost around 30% of her vision. Doctors can't give her a prognosis because of the lack of clarity about the pesticide. "That day, our lives ended," she said. "We’re not the same people we were before."


 
 
 
 
 
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