Half their beehives wiped out

Mega-farms spraying pesticides are destroying this family’s livelihood ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Melipona beekeepers Guillermo Valverde Azofeifa, 63, and Andrea Mora Montero, 37, with their children, Valeria, 19, and Kevin, 11. In their garden in Iztarú, Costa Rica, they have 50 hives that are home to seven different species of the Melipona stingless bee that are native to Central America.

Sylvia,

For decades, Guillermo and Andrea have kept rare stingless bees on their small farm in rural Costa Rica, making a basic living selling honey from the hives.

But now their bees are under attack: half their hives have been lost to poison pesticides sprayed by neighbouring mega-farms growing crops like pineapple for mass export.

Guillermo and Andrea are desperate and asking for help. Months ago, they started legal proceedings for an injunction, but the mega-farmers are politically powerful, and local authorities don’t care about pollinator conservation, telling them, “we don’t know anything about bees.”

There are capable lawyers that could stand up for their family, but they simply can’t afford it.

We’ve fought battles like this before. If enough of... us chip in the cost of a coffee or a meal, we can hire them a great lawyer, and even put up security cameras to provide critical evidence! Click to help Guillermo and Andrea defend their family farm – and set a precedent that could protect small farms across the country:

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Guillermo and Andrea are passionate about their Melipona stingless bees, native to the area and crucial for pollinating tropical fruit trees, crops, and wild plants. Stingless bees like these were considered gods by the Mayan people, and this family has dedicated their lives to ensuring their survival.

But in recent years, mega monoculture farms growing cassava and pineapple for export have expanded rapidly in the area, clearing protected forests along the way. The mega-farmers are hostile to the family, even coming up to the property line and directly spraying bee-killing pesticides into their garden when Guillermo and Andrea go out to sell their products.

If it continues like this, the family will be ruined, and their project to sustain these bees will be over. And every day they fail to get an injunction from the courts, more bees die – “some are even dying now, from the latest spraying,” says Guillermo.

They’ve almost lost hope, but SumOfUs members have a history of standing up for small farms and regular people being bullied by big business and pesticide giants.

If enough of us chip in urgently, we can send a top lawyer to help Guillermo and Andrea stop the spraying, put up security fences to prevent the direct attacks, install security cameras to catch them in the act – and protect this special farm and its bees for decades to come. Click to help:

If you’ve saved your payment information with SumOfUs, your donation will go through immediately:

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Andrea says they “feel that nobody really recognizes the importance of the bees; we’re fighting this battle alone. It makes me so sad to see the Meliponas die.” Let’s show these small farmers they aren’t alone, and that our global community is here for them – and their bees.

Thanks for all that you do,
Danny and the SumOfUs team


More information:

For a beekeeping couple in Costa Rica, pesticides are killing the buzz, Mongabay, 1 April 2022.

SumOfUs is a worldwide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy.

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