Why Did Four Million Bees Die in 48 Hours in Northern Italy?

by Katy - Bee Missionary August 27, 2020

Why Did Four Million Bees Die in 48 Hours in Northern Italy?

In the Lombardy region of northern Italy, agricultural experts are investigating the mysterious deaths overnight of millions of bees. This tragic and unexplained death of 130 bee families on the evening of August 7 and the morning of August 8 happened within an area of approximately 6-kilometers between Cremona and Brescia, according to the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

The dead bees were found in Villagana and Bompensiero in Brescia and in Cremona they were discovered in Azzanello and Genivolta. Agricultural association Coldiretti is calling this incident a catastrophe since bees are such important pollinators to biodiversity. Italy’s Forestry Corps division of Caribinieri and the Ats of Brescia are investigating and conducting tests on the dead bees as well as their honey.

In contrast to this tragedy, and to celebrate Italian bees and the beauty of what they bring to Italian life, we are presenting a sweet travel video by 2foodtrippers. Even though it is 10:36-minutes long, just the first 3-4 minutes have an amazing focus on Italian bees at Mieli Thun in Trentino, Italy, their delicious honey, and the splendid roses they pollinate in that area of Northern Italy:

 

 

Beekeeping is a major activity in the area of Brescia where there are around 119 companies in that province alone. This represents about 30 thousand beehives, and production of over 300 thousand tons of honey, wax, propolis and derivatives.

Bees disappearing around the world is a rising problem with no apparent solutions. The Beekeeping Institute of the University of Bern in Switzerland has recorded increases from 5%--10% to 25%--40% in winter bee deaths as well as increasing bee die-offs during spring and summer seasons. One in ten species of European bees and butterflies is on the brink of extinction. One of every three of these species is suffering from a population decline.  

Consider that each bee visits about 7,000 flowers every day and it takes an average of 4 million flower visits to produce 1 kilogram of honey. Bees are vital to the foods humanity eats for nutrition and pleasure.

Beekeeper Edoardo Mombelli manages 250 hives. He told Il Fatto Quotidiano that as a beekeeper he had never witnessed such a violent and massive phenomenon and finds it inexplicable, even for beekeepers.

The year 2020 has been a challenging one, due to lockdown and climate change, and the Brescia branch of Coldiretti finds it difficult to understand what the causes could be for such a sudden and lethal event. There is a lot of concern for the bees in this very delicate year.

According to the spokesperson, 2019 was a “black year” for beekeeping with the worst honey harvest ever reported in Italy, due to extreme and ongoing weather events.

If we learn more about what caused the death of these bees, we will update this blog post.

 

  

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Katy - Bee Missionary
Katy - Bee Missionary

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