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Mystery solved after 3 million bees are found dead in just 24 hours

Mystery solved after 3 million bees are found dead in just 24 hours

The bees were found dead in September 2023

Experts believe they've worked out why roughly three million bees died in a 24 hour period at a San Diego bee sanctuary.

Back in September, it was reported that 'piles and piles' of dead bees had been discovered by beekeepers at the Northern San Diego location.

It was later revealed that 95 percent of the bees at the sanctuary died, leaving only two remaining colonies.

This understandably left everyone who worked at the sanctuary devastated as they had put in 'considerable love, sweat and bee stings' into rescuing the bees and rehabilitating them.

The mass deaths sparked an investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), who has since shared its findings.

Around 3 million bees died from the poisoning.
ABC News 10

According to the USDA, the bees died as a result of being exposed to a 'double lethal' dose of poison used as a termiticide that is banned for outdoor use.

How they came into contact with the poison remains unclear as there was no reports of it being used near to the sanctuary - but staff suspect it may have been malicious.

Dominic Peck, who works at the sanctuary, told ABC10: "We suspect malice because all nearby orchards had no reported use of Fipronil and nearby aperies did not have positioning either.

"It seems to be directed towards us. We cannot say that for sure, but we are moving out of the area to be safe."

In an update posted to a GoFundMe page for the San Diego Bee Sanctuary last week, fundraiser organizer Paul Gunn penned: "The USDA has finally conducted their report and their findings conclude that the poison used was a termiticide, Fipronil.

"This chemical is banned for agriculture and landscaping purposes. The state of California only permitted the testing of the bees themselves and not any equipment, water supply, etc, but they did investigate all nearby orchards, recreational land, and nearby residence for any use of Fipronil.

"There was no reported nearby use, and all apiaries within a close proximity had no Fipronil exposure. While we’re grateful to know what caused our loss we’re uneasy about why this happened."

Fipronil has killed millions of bees across the globe.

In light of the USDA's findings, the sanctuary is working with the government agency, Master Beekeepers of CA and other local beekeepers in the hopes of getting rid of the poison from any contaminated equipment.

The GoFundMe was set up after the death of the bees and, at the time of writing, has raised a staggering $12,170 - exceeding their $10,000 target.

The fundraiser was created to help the sanctuary buy new hives and to recover from the bees' tragic deaths.

Featured Image Credit: San Diego Bee Sanctuary/ABC10

Topics: News, US News