Close to 500 million bees have died within just three months in Brazil, while researchers say pesticides are likely to be the main cause of death.
The dwindling numbers reveal that the amount of bees reported by beekeepers from four Brazillian states are clocking in at 400 million deaths and counting.
Seven million bees were reported dead in São Paulo, along with 50 million also dying in Santa Catarina as well as 45 million in Mato Grosso.
Vice president of Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul beekeeping association, Aldo Machado, told Bloomberg:
“As soon as the healthy bees began clearing the dying bees out of the hives, they became contaminated. They started dying en masse.”
While bees are vital to the world, the United Nations Food and Organization estimates that about 75 percent of the planet’s food is dependent on bee pollination.
The population that is quickly falling in Brazil also reflects declining numbers in the rest of the world. Meanwhile, in the US, colony collapse disorder (CCD) has been affecting the country’s bee population since 2006. This is when bees disappear from their hives. And while the cause is unclear, the use of pesticides by farmers is a theory.
With President Michael Temer along with President Jair Bolsonaro, the South American country has become the biggest buyer of pesticides in the world, including some odd 193 weedkillers and pesticides that are currently banned in the European Union.
Currently, Bolsonaro is facing massive scrutiny over his handling of environmental issues, as conservationists have accused the President of encouraging the clearing of land by loggers as well as farmers. This speeds up the deforestation process and leads to incidents like the rain forest tragedy.
Currently, Bolsonaro is looking to further deregulate pesticide rules in the next few months — another hit to a country that houses one of the richest biodiversities on the planet.