Bulgarian beekeepers are threatening to set up tents in front of the local Ministry of Agriculture and Food, furious at the lack of measures the country is (not) taking to stop bee deaths. The protest came after beekeepers calculated that in some places, up to 80 percent of bees failed to survive the winter, all after the start of 2020 seemed promising for the success of quarantined bees and a lack of road traffic. Contrary to expectations, from May to July, mass death of bees was noticed, which is attributed to the use of the pesticide thiamethoxam, which is illegal in the EU.
This is the third mass bee slaughter in Bulgaria in the last three years. The first in the first-instance verdict was indicted by Bulgaria's largest agricultural company, Octopus, with revenues of 150m euros a year, only to be overturned second-instance verdict. one region to another, and a third, to be now observed in all regions. This company receives as much as 11 million euros in subsidies from European funds and uses banned pesticides despite additional bans. This was proven by analyzing deceased bees in private laboratories, as the state did not protect beekeepers. However, due to the high cost of such analyzes, the number of private beekeepers' lawsuits against Octopus was low.
Namely, in the last five years, Bulgaria has moved from a country with a minimum number of dead bees to a country where something urgent needs to be done. This year, the winter bee mortality averaged 50 to 70 percent, depending on the region. To make matters worse, the death toll's real scale is hidden because beekeepers fear losing subsidies if they discover real numbers. The review of the situation on the ground this year was further limited to scientists due to travel ban measures, so they depended on the "science of citizens" or the population's ability to go out into the field and be their eyes at a distance.
Beekeepers warn that the plague means that only half of the total number of colonies will survive this year and that only 400,000 to 500,000 hives will remain in Bulgaria. While some believe that the main cause of such a high degree of death is drought, others warn of the previously identified problem of using illicit pesticides (thiamethoxane) that harm bees. The cover-up further aggravates the problem for subsidies, but even more by the state's completely inadequate plans to remedy the problem, which is why they are protesting in front of the Ministry of Agriculture. Namely, apart from the fact that bees are treated in Bulgarian law as cattle - which is not endangered and easier to raise - the Ministry pushes data on bee deaths under the carpet and conceals and does not publish accurate data on that topic. Interestingly, on February 25, the European Commission published a report that testified the systemic misuse of European subsidies for agriculture in some member states, including Bulgaria.
Recall that bees have been declared "the most important creatures on Earth", because 70 percent of the food we eat depends on their pollination. Without bees, out of the 100 most important foods we eat, 70 will disappear. It should be taken into account that the number of bees on the planet has already been significantly reduced and that this is an endangered species. However, in addition to 70 percent of our food, without bees, biodiversity would be radically reduced, i.e., the ecosystem would collapse since it is a system of connected vessels. Epidemiological measures could have saved the lives of bees in such a way that there were no pesticides. Namely, fewer exhaust gases on the roads make it easier for bees to find food (closer to the hive). Air pollution limits the range of odor buds and their durability, breaking down odor molecules that plants emit, which makes it difficult for bees to find food. As a result, they often have to fly on in search of food, and on the way back, exhaust fumes and pesticides make them even more stunned, so sometimes they can't even return to the hive. A drop in the proportion of ozone (60 parts per billion) in the atmosphere is enough to cause chemical changes that confuse bees and cause their hunger and dizziness. The survival of bees depends on several factors - such as pollution, the condition of the queens, the production of new queens, but most pesticides.
For example, total bee loss rates in the winter of 2018 to 2019 among the 31 measured countries (Europe) were the highest in Slovenia at 32 percent, while the lowest rate was in Bulgaria with only 5.8 percent of bee deaths. A year earlier, Slovenia was also in the first place, followed by Serbia (25.4 percent), followed by Spain, Croatia, Iran, Greece, and Portugal. But a year earlier, Serbia had one of the lowest bee death rates. In general, Western Europe countries had a lower bee mortality rate than the countries of Eastern Europe, which in recent years fully corresponds to the trends of the most polluted cities. The people of Eastern Europe's satiety depends on the success of bee-dependent crops that depend on clean air, which does not exist due to thermal power plants, and the inertia of countries to pass environmental laws, which do not exist only due to capital constraints and modern technology. Due to the authorities' corruption and negligence towards ecology, intrusion into harmful business bursts is an encroachment on the wasp's nest. These practices that the EU warns about when it says that Eastern Europe will be most affected by climate change because it is not only about the shocks of nature but also the inertia of politics to mitigate problems.