In Brazil, over half a billion bees have died during the past three months. The state of Rio Grande do Sul saw roughly 400 million bee deaths, and beekeepers in several other states have reported large amounts of bees dying off as well.
Bees play a crucial part in the food chain; approximately 33 percent of our food requires pollination primarily from bees. Fruits and vegetables such as avocados and broccoli rely on the bees’ activities.
Researchers believe that pesticides are the cause of these deaths. Many pesticides use ingredients that have been barred in Europe, such as fipronil and neonicotinoids. Due to the serious damage it does to the bees, neonicotinoids were banned by the European Union last April. However, around the same time, Brazil removed constraints on pesticides even though environmentalists were opposed to this move. Greenpeace says that pesticide use has been on the rise in Brazil. Almost 200 products that possess chemicals restricted in the EU have been registered in Brazil over the past three years.
Brazil is not the only place where the bees are struggling
Over the last year, beekeepers in the United States had a loss of 40 percent of their honeybee colonies – the worst winter that has been documented. Around 20 regions in Russia also reported widespread deaths of bees which could possibly result in a 20 percent drop in honey production. Last year November in South Africa, more than a million bees died, with fipronil thought to be responsible. And in the last year and a half, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, and Turkey have also noted mass bee deaths.
According to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), unoccupied areas that were once used for development purposes could be managed to look after bee populations. It also suggests that with the advancement of urbanization, more urban green spaces should be established to help with the protection of the bees. You can also do your part by growing plants to promote pollination, and allowing your grass to grow a little longer than normal can provide bees with much needed shelter.