In the past three months, roughly 500 million bees have died in Brazil, igniting a concern among environmentalists. According to experts and laboratory analysis, the main cause is exposure to pesticides which contain neonicotinoids and fipronil. Both of these chemicals were reportedly banned in Europe because of the threat they pose to bees. If this is not addressed, it is projected that millions more bees will die.
|A honeybee / Photo by: Wikimedia Commons via All That's Interesting|
Bees have played a major role in our ecosystem, pollinating and promoting the reproduction of various species of plants. In Brazil alone, approximately 60 percent of the 141 crops grown for human and animal consumption are dependent on pollination by bees. According to Mongabay.com, an online site which seeks to raise interest in and appreciation of wildlands and wildlife, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s largest honey producer, accounts for 80 percent of the recent die-off. The southern state of Santa Catarina has the second-largest number of recorded bee deaths, with 50 million deaths. This is followed by central-western Mato Grosso do Sul, with 45 million deaths, and southeastern São Paulo state, with 7 million deaths.
|The bees on the hive / Photo by: PollyDot and Pixabay via Mongabay|
It was reported that since Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, was elected, the country has brought more dangerous pesticides. Since January, the president has permitted sales of 290 types of pesticides, a 27 percent increase from last year. According to All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, Aldo Machado, vice president of Rio Grande do Sul beekeeping association, said, “They started dying en masse as soon as the healthy bees began clearing the dying bees out of the hives, they became contaminated.”
These dangerous pesticides will not only harm bees but also humans. They can cause health issues such as swelling skin, heavy constipation, constant vomiting, and impaired vision. Farmers like Andresa Batista are affected. She can’t work now because of the effects of being exposed to pesticides while working.
|Pesticide spraying / Photo by: Zeynel Cebeci via Wikimedia Commons|