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Pesticides Blamed for Bee Massacre in Italy

Gardening Beekeeping
(AP Photo/Dean Fosdick)

Farmers in northern Italy are reporting a mysterious massacre of bees.  Beekeeper Edoardo Mambelli’s hives have suddenly stopped buzzing due to an apparent bee genocide.

Almost half of his 50 thousand bees died within the space of one night.  Some four million bees more than 140 bee families were wiped out in a small four mile stretch near the northern Italian national park of Quinzano d’Oglio.

Mambelli and other producers suspect pesticides are the culprit, but won’t know until investigations are complete

According to Italy Magazine, the widespread use of pesticides is decimating Italy’s honeybee population.

Without bees agriculture suffers costing millions of euros in lost crops.

The Union of Italian Beekeepers (UNAAPI) are calling the “silent epidemic” among Italian bees over the last year that could cost farmers 2.5 billion euros.

UNAAPI said between 40% and 50% of Italy’s honeybees had vanished since the start of last year.

”A group of comparatively new pesticides called neonicotinoids are killing the bees,” said UNAAPI President Francesco Panella. ”These substances were irresponsibly authorized by public powers that bowed to pressure from the chemical industry”.

Italian farmers use over a third of all pesticides applied in Europe, to the detriment of bees which are extremely fragile.

”They are excellent indicators of levels of toxicity in the environment. What they tell us should be taken on board with great concern for the survival of future generations”.

UNAAPI accepts that drought and disease have also played a role in the mysterious die-off but insists that the key suspect is a seed treatment using neonicotinoids, an artificial form of nicotine.