Rome; Italian forestry officials are conducting an investigation into the unexplained death of around four million bees which died in a small area between Brescia and Cremona in northern Italy, reports Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.
The bees died overnight, between the evening of 7 August and the morning of 8 August, in what farming association Coldiretti has described as a “catastrophe,” given the importance of these pollinating insects so vital for biodiversity.
Tests are being carried out on the dead bees and their honey in an attempt to ascertain the cause of their sudden death, which occurred in an area of about six kilometres and affected 130 bee families.
Honey and olive oil on Rome’s Palatine Hill
Beekeeping is a particularly active sector in the area in which the bees died – Villagana, Bompensiero, Villachiara, Acqualunga, Azzanello and Genivolta – with around 119 companies in the province of Brescia alone.
“In my experience as a beekeeper I have never witnessed such a violent and massive phenomenon, truly inexplicable even for fellow beekeepers in the area – says Edoardo Mombelli, a beekeeper who, together with his wife Ilenia, manages 250 hives in Quinzano d’Oglio.
As investigations continue, the Brescia branch of Coldiretti stated: “It is difficult to understand the causes of such a sudden and lethal phenomenon,” adding that there is “dismay and concern for an already delicate year, due to the lockdown and climatic changes”.