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Ecology

Bees Are Dropping Dead in Brazil and Sending a Message to Humans

Pesticide use in Brazil sparks concern among environmentalists.

A beekeeper inspects his newborn European bees in Sao Roque, Sao Paulo state, Brazil.

A beekeeper inspects his newborn European bees in Sao Roque, Sao Paulo state, Brazil.

Photographer: Patricia Monteiro/Bloomberg
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Death came swiftly for Aldo Machado’s honey bees. Less than 48 hours after the first apis mellifera showed signs of sickness, tens of thousands lay dead, their bodies piled in mounds.

“As soon as the healthy bees began clearing the dying bees out of the hives, they became contaminated,” said Machado, vice president of Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul beekeeping association. “They started dying en masse.”