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Beekeeper looks for answers after 1.2 million bees suddenly drop dead in Lively, Ont.

Two weeks ago, Dawn Lalonde of Mikkola Family Farm & Apiary in Lively, Ont., was doing a routine checkup on one of her bee yards when she noticed something was off. 

She usually hears the millions of bees in her 40 or so colonies buzzing around and about. But on that day, there was only silence.

"The only way to describe it is apocalyptically eerie," she said. 

According to Lalonde, there were no signs of disease or pests. What's more, an inspection conducted by Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture in late May concluded her hives and bees were in good health. 

But on that day, piles of dead bees were scattered around property, some still alive but suffering and barely moving. In total, 50 per cent of her colonies had died, amounting to about 1.2 million bees.

"I kept beating myself up, thinking it was my fault, something I had done wrong," said Lalonde. 

But the abrupt and violent nature of the deaths, combined with discussions with other local beekeepers, led her to conclude something in the environment could be to blame.

"It was an acute kill, which is most likely from some type of chemical used in the area," she said.

 

What that chemical could be and where it comes from are questions that can only be answered through necropsies and the testing of samples in labs. 

Lalonde plans to do exactly that as soon as she raises enough money through her GoFundMe campaign. 

"There's many different chemicals and products currently on the market," she said, adding she hopes the results of the tests could help identify and eliminate the source of the problem. 

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