Horace Bell, 73, has maintained an apiary on a property near Deland, Fla. for years. But when he went to check on the bees last Sunday, he found millions of carcasses instead.
Bell, who has worked with bees for 60 years, noted that not everyone in the area is a fan of his bees and thinks someone is responsible.
In addition to the carcasses, Bell said he saw plenty of bees struggling on the ground – leading him to believe they’ve been poisoned.
“They’re listless. We know what the hell is going on, we got some experience,” Bell said told the Northwest Florida Daily News.
Bell keeps about 20,000 bees across Florida, approximately 1,000 of which are the DeLand property. He’s reportedly taking the hives approximately 150 miles to Fort Pierce for safekeeping.
A state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspector visited Bell’s property on Monday to investigate.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honey bees are responsible for pollinating “one in every three bites of food we take and increase our nation’s crop values each year by more than $15 billion.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.