Over 50 million bees were found dead last week in Medjimurje County, Croatia, prompting the country’s authorities to declare a natural disaster on Monday, June 15, 2020.
On June 9, it was noticed that millions of dead bees cover the land in the area between Podtur and Gardinovac, near the border with Hungary, leaving the beekeepers shocked and devastated.
20 beekeepers have reportedly lost about 600 hives, which is about 50 million bees. It is believed that the cause of the environmental disaster was pesticide poisoning, although this has not yet been confirmed.
“This is probably an insecticide poisoning,” said Ana Pepelko, a beekeeper from Gardinovac. “We will find out if this is the result of spraying potatoes or rapeseed after analysis.”
Zeljko Trupkovich from the Association of Beekeepers of Medjimur County called the incident catastrophic.
Drazen Yerman, president of The hive association, noted that this is not the first case of bee poisoning in the area. A few years ago, German said that his association had staged a protest against the use of pesticides in front of the Beekeeper Association.
Among other reasons, Yerman singled out the pollution of the Sava River with antibiotics, adding that they are not favorable for organic farming.
Ivan Vuchetich from the Center for Forensic Research, Research and Expertise in Zagreb collected samples of bees, honey and plants to determine the exact cause of death of bees using laboratory analysis.
The Institute of Public Health of Medjimur County will conduct analyzes of honey, and the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Veterinary Faculty of Zagreb will determine if death has occurred from bee diseases.
A study on the effects on human health will also be conducted.
On June 15, county officials said they discussed next steps with beekeepers at a meeting attended by representatives of the district’s police and agricultural advisory services.
Officials noted that they would provide “maximum support to beekeepers in order to eliminate damage as soon as possible and protect the remaining bees.”
Beekeepers will receive about 225 dollars or 200 euros for a damaged hive. However, Yerman noted that the losses are immeasurable. “Just think about the importance of bees for pollination.”