‘Bees are sentinels’: “mass bee die-offs signal the wider impact of Brazil’s pesticide boom”
“The footage is unpleasant to watch: thousands of bees writhe, disoriented, on the ground in front of their hive. The dead bodies of thousands more lie beneath them.
But the smell, said beekeeper Aldo Machado, is even worse.
“Dead bees smell like dead rats,” he said. “The smell is very strong, it really is. It’s like any other meat.”
Half a billion bees are estimated to have died from December 2018 to January 2019 in southern Brazil. Machado, vice-president of Rio Grande do Sul’s beekeeping society, has been hearing reports of die-offs since 2013.
Machado sent samples of his bees for analysis, which showed that they were contaminated with an insecticide called fipronil, commonly used to control ants and termites on soy crops.”