Who Killed the Honey Bee?


Who Killed the Honey Bee?

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Who Killed the Honey Bee?. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

BUZZING

0:00:020:00:04

The buzzing of bees.

0:00:120:00:14

It's one of the great sounds of summer.

0:00:140:00:16

But they're not just making honey.

0:00:160:00:19

Darting from flower to flower,

0:00:190:00:21

they're working to keep the whole eco system in order.

0:00:210:00:25

The real gift from bees was

0:00:270:00:29

completely unknown about for most of human history, which is pollination.

0:00:290:00:33

Pollination is the fertilising of flowering plants that allows them

0:00:330:00:38

to produce fruits, nuts and vegetables.

0:00:380:00:41

A lot of people don't realise that one out of every three

0:00:410:00:44

bites of food they stick in their mouth, these honey bees put on their dinner table.

0:00:440:00:50

Without the tireless work of bees our food production would collapse.

0:00:500:00:56

And we may be on the brink of that catastrophe right now.

0:00:560:01:02

Across the world, our bees are dying.

0:01:020:01:06

Well, they were fine until about the last week in May and then

0:01:060:01:11

they started dying and we ended up with bucketfuls of dead bees.

0:01:110:01:14

In less than four years we lost 800,000 hives in the United States.

0:01:140:01:19

That's one third of bees in the United States.

0:01:190:01:22

In the UK last year we lost nearly a third of our bees.

0:01:220:01:26

CHANTING

0:01:260:01:28

In the US and across Europe, the problem's even worse.

0:01:280:01:33

What's causing this global environmental catastrophe?

0:01:360:01:40

I've kept bees for seven years,

0:02:020:02:04

and as summer ends I've got a real anxiety about my colony.

0:02:040:02:07

Winter is when hives are most under threat, so it's vital that the bees

0:02:070:02:12

are in good shape, free from disease and boosted with extra food.

0:02:120:02:17

I'm very worried putting them away this winter because

0:02:190:02:22

you know, you read in the papers,

0:02:220:02:24

I think something like 40% of hives have died out so that's a really

0:02:240:02:28

high percentage, and if you only have one real hive, like I do,

0:02:280:02:32

then it's a very worrying thing.

0:02:320:02:34

You feel you've done everything possible.

0:02:340:02:37

I've fed them. I've treated them,

0:02:370:02:39

but it is an anxious time because you don't know whether they're going to survive.

0:02:390:02:44

'I'm really frightened that when I open up the hive in the spring I'll find a pile of dead bees.

0:02:440:02:51

'Once my hive was closed up,

0:02:510:02:53

'I started to wonder why bees were dying in such incredible numbers -

0:02:530:02:59

'why now? Why everywhere at the same time?

0:02:590:03:01

'Was it a coincidence?

0:03:010:03:04

'What I'd discover was a hugely complex story.

0:03:060:03:10

'The reason why bees are in such crisis is intricately tied

0:03:100:03:14

'to the way we've changed our planet.'

0:03:140:03:16

There are numerous species of bees on the planet, but the one I'm

0:03:230:03:27

concerned with is Apis Mellifera, or the European honey bee.

0:03:270:03:32

It's established itself as the number one

0:03:370:03:41

pollinator of fruits and vegetables, working to produce over 90 crops.

0:03:410:03:46

Apples, pears, berries, nuts, rapeseed, cauliflower, onions,

0:03:490:03:56

carrots, plums, and even cotton are produced thanks to the honey bee.

0:03:560:04:02

In the UK, the value of pollination is over £190 million.

0:04:030:04:09

In the US, it's 60 times that.

0:04:090:04:13

Pollination is basically how plants have sex.

0:04:140:04:19

Flowers are these gaudy billboards that are saying

0:04:190:04:21

"come to me and here's a reward of nectar and pollen".

0:04:210:04:24

And then the bee comes in, picks up some pollen, visits the next flower

0:04:240:04:29

and drops off that pollen.

0:04:290:04:30

Without bees taking pollen from one apple tree to another apple tree,

0:04:300:04:36

you wouldn't get any apples.

0:04:360:04:39

Today, honey bees account for 80% of insect pollination.

0:04:390:04:44

But 100 years ago, the countryside would have been

0:04:460:04:49

abuzz with plenty of wild bees and other pollinating insects.

0:04:490:04:55

As farming practices have changed, these have been largely eradicated.

0:04:550:04:59

By devoting vast swathes of countryside to single crops,

0:05:020:05:06

chopping down the hedgerows and dousing the ground with pesticides,

0:05:060:05:11

the habitat for wild pollinators has been destroyed.

0:05:110:05:15

So humanity has come to rely on the colonies reared and kept alive by beekeepers.

0:05:150:05:21

What have you got?

0:05:210:05:23

Without them and their honey bees, these foods would be threatened.

0:05:250:05:30

And nowhere is this reliance more pronounced

0:05:310:05:34

than in the USA, where hives are transported across the continent

0:05:340:05:39

to pollinate the nation's crops.

0:05:390:05:42

And it was here that the first warnings emerged that there

0:05:440:05:48

was something terribly wrong with the honey bee.

0:05:480:05:52

Dave Hackenberg and his son make their living

0:05:590:06:02

hiring out hives to farmers.

0:06:020:06:04

Our business is going up and down the east coast pollinating

0:06:040:06:08

apples and blueberries and vegetables and cantaloupes

0:06:080:06:13

and pumpkins and all them things.

0:06:130:06:15

Most of our bees will get rented this summer two times and some of them

0:06:150:06:20

even three times on different crops.

0:06:200:06:22

What we're doing is we're going through these bees

0:06:240:06:26

and getting them ready to go to California.

0:06:260:06:29

We've got to get them all over on clean pallets

0:06:290:06:31

and making sure they're all good-looking beehives.

0:06:310:06:34

Evening up the populations of the ones that don't got.

0:06:350:06:38

It was in the autumn of 2006

0:06:430:06:45

that Hackenberg began to notice a serious problem with his bees.

0:06:450:06:50

At a time when they should have been full of life,

0:06:500:06:53

they were going missing.

0:06:530:06:55

Here's the beehive these bee scientists found couple of days ago.

0:06:550:06:59

It was full of bees. Three hours later...nobody home.

0:06:590:07:04

Empty box. The bees just disappeared.

0:07:040:07:09

They just...took off.

0:07:100:07:14

Looking inside the boxes, he could find only a handful of bees.

0:07:180:07:23

The rest had literally vanished.

0:07:250:07:28

Within a couple of weeks, he lost 360 out of 400 hives.

0:07:320:07:38

-Need a frame anywhere? Need a frame?

-Do I need one?

0:07:400:07:44

Now you go in a hive and it's a depressing sight.

0:07:460:07:49

Oh, we had 80% in one load. Every time you go in the yard you're

0:07:490:07:53

picking up two on every pallet, you're down to one on a pallet.

0:07:530:07:57

And the next time you go through that one's dead.

0:07:570:08:00

Adding to the mystery,

0:08:000:08:02

other bees gave the vanished hives a wide berth.

0:08:020:08:06

Normally when a hive of bees is dead first thing that happens, the other bees come in and rob it out.

0:08:060:08:11

But the thing that we seen here stands 400 hives of bees, boxes

0:08:110:08:16

-full of honey.

-Brand new queens.

0:08:160:08:19

Brand new queens and yet the boxes are full of honey and 100 yards away

0:08:190:08:22

sits another yard of bees that won't even look at this stuff.

0:08:220:08:26

So something weird is going on here.

0:08:260:08:30

Unable to explain the mysterious vanishings,

0:08:300:08:33

he called in the State bee inspector, Dennis vanEnglesdorp.

0:08:330:08:37

Going through the hives, vanEnglesdorp was at a loss

0:08:510:08:54

to explain what had happened.

0:08:540:08:56

Wow, that one's gone.

0:09:000:09:01

Yeah, some of these were pretty close to collapse.

0:09:010:09:05

He's been going through and culling colonies that are weak, trying to

0:09:090:09:13

pick out the ones that are good for moving to California.

0:09:130:09:16

So these are either dead colonies or colonies that were too weak.

0:09:160:09:20

You can see he's lost an awful lot of colonies in this particular yard.

0:09:200:09:24

So he's stacking them up

0:09:240:09:25

and he's going to have those eradiated so he'll bring them down

0:09:250:09:29

to the radiation plant and sterilise the equipment

0:09:290:09:32

before he puts more bees on.

0:09:320:09:34

VanEnglesdorp rapidly came to realise that the Hackenbergs weren't an isolated case.

0:09:360:09:42

Two weeks ago I got a call, a guy, 14 days before had fantastic bees.

0:09:420:09:49

He calls, he has 200 left of 2,000 nine days later.

0:09:490:09:53

So I mean, how do you keep track of that?

0:09:530:09:55

And Hackenberg too was hearing rumours.

0:09:550:10:00

It's kind of a phenomena thing, you know?

0:10:000:10:02

But it's happened all over the country.

0:10:020:10:05

It's happened probably while we're standing here talking.

0:10:050:10:08

I mean, every day the phone rings, you know,

0:10:080:10:10

with more and more guys losing bees. Huge numbers of them.

0:10:100:10:13

One guy told me last night if we don't figure this thing out in four to five years there won't

0:10:130:10:18

be any beekeepers left in the United States, cos we just can't afford it.

0:10:180:10:22

I mean, look at that empty stuff stacked up and the dead ones sitting around here.

0:10:220:10:26

We just can't keep going.

0:10:270:10:30

Many of the beekeepers that American farmers relied on

0:10:320:10:36

were reporting losses of up to 90% of their hives.

0:10:360:10:40

What was happening to America's bees?

0:10:450:10:48

A team of scientists began taking information from beekeepers across

0:10:530:10:57

the country and came up with a list of symptoms

0:10:570:11:00

to describe what they called colony collapse disorder.

0:11:000:11:05

The queen is usually still present.

0:11:070:11:09

There's still honey and pollen that hasn't been robbed out

0:11:090:11:13

and to me the most defining character is you've

0:11:130:11:15

got low adult bee population and yet there's still an abundance of brood -

0:11:150:11:19

developing bees that are present in the combs in those colonies.

0:11:190:11:22

That indicates that the colony was very strong shortly before it collapsed.

0:11:220:11:27

But in trying to identify a cause, there was a problem.

0:11:290:11:32

With colony collapse disorder they're dying away from the colony and we're not detecting them.

0:11:320:11:37

They're not, they're not congregating anywhere.

0:11:370:11:40

They're not accumulating anywhere that we can find.

0:11:400:11:43

So when we come after the collapse, in fact it's very difficult.

0:11:430:11:47

You're sampling just the survivors - what happened to the ones that died?

0:11:470:11:51

We don't have those corpses available to look at.

0:11:510:11:53

They began dissecting the samples they could collect

0:11:530:11:58

in search of a disease that could explain the vanishings.

0:11:580:12:03

But initially they drew a blank and until they could discover a

0:12:030:12:07

cause, there was no way of stopping it spreading.

0:12:070:12:11

In the heat of the crisis, America's biggest beekeeper, Bret Adee,

0:12:190:12:24

was taking no chances.

0:12:240:12:26

He was moving his hives away from other populations to keep them safe.

0:12:260:12:32

As of yet we haven't seen any of the colony collapse

0:12:320:12:36

showing up in our bees.

0:12:360:12:38

Last year, the colony collapse disorder seemed to...

0:12:380:12:43

show itself mostly during the dormant season,

0:12:430:12:46

and that's what we're entering in

0:12:460:12:48

right now, is when the bees start to go dormant as the temperatures drop.

0:12:480:12:52

It wasn't just temperature that worried Bret Adee.

0:12:520:12:55

By putting his 70,000 hives in an isolated valley,

0:12:550:12:59

he could protect them from other potentially diseased bees.

0:12:590:13:03

We're setting it out on the ranches here in California so they don't have

0:13:050:13:10

to be exposed to the Arctic up in South Dakota and North Dakota.

0:13:100:13:15

With the winter coming, Bret was also boosting his bees

0:13:150:13:20

with sugar solution and other nutrients.

0:13:200:13:23

I'm a big believer in proteins. Like having a balanced diet

0:13:230:13:26

will keep a person healthy, I think the same is very critical for bees.

0:13:260:13:31

I don't wanna lose any bees.

0:13:320:13:34

That's why we're trying to keep the stress levels down to a minimum, by

0:13:340:13:38

making sure they have all kinds of carbohydrates, they have all kinds

0:13:380:13:41

of protein, so if there were any stresses they would be in a healthy enough position to overcome it.

0:13:410:13:47

Meanwhile, scientists continued to analyse samples from collapsed colonies.

0:13:520:13:58

Researchers identified a pathogen present

0:14:030:14:08

in over 96% of vanished hives.

0:14:080:14:11

It was called Israeli acute paralysis virus.

0:14:130:14:19

But could it explain the vanishings?

0:14:190:14:23

What was strange was that the virus was also present

0:14:250:14:29

in some healthy bee colonies.

0:14:290:14:32

The same was true of another disease found in the dead bees, known as nosema.

0:14:340:14:40

Like human beings, bees can carry within them

0:14:440:14:48

a number of viruses and other diseases without causing illness.

0:14:480:14:52

However, just like humans, already weak bees are more susceptible

0:14:520:14:58

to infections that can kill.

0:14:580:15:00

What I'm assuming is happening

0:15:000:15:03

is that these bees are becoming weak for some reason and nosema

0:15:030:15:07

is one of those things like viruses

0:15:070:15:08

that can then take off and take advantage of a weakened host.

0:15:080:15:12

And that's I think where we need to find the stress factor, whatever it

0:15:120:15:16

is, that's going on that's allowing, in some cases, viruses to take off and kill bees.

0:15:160:15:23

So what was making these widespread diseases become so fatal?

0:15:230:15:28

What was it in the environment that was causing bees to become weakened?

0:15:280:15:33

Could it be the very way that hives were being kept?

0:15:330:15:37

# Dear, I fear we're facing a problem

0:15:410:15:46

# You love me no longer... #

0:15:460:15:49

Bees have been put under stress

0:15:490:15:51

by man for as long as we found a way to exploit them.

0:15:510:15:54

And many of the bees' problems seem to stem from this.

0:15:560:16:00

There's a whole mythology of how wonderfully selfless the bees are.

0:16:000:16:04

There's this phrase non nobis - they work but not for themselves,

0:16:040:16:06

and that's a very convenient way of getting round the fact that

0:16:060:16:11

for most of human history,

0:16:110:16:12

we have stolen from the bees,

0:16:120:16:14

we have robbed them of their honey

0:16:140:16:17

and then we've killed them every year.

0:16:170:16:19

And if you think of the classical skep beehive,

0:16:240:16:27

which is the kind of Winnie the Pooh cuddly hive that most of us picture,

0:16:270:16:32

if we think of a beehive, it wasn't so cute and cuddly for the bees.

0:16:320:16:36

It was really effectively like a kind of mausoleum,

0:16:360:16:40

because for most beekeepers

0:16:400:16:42

they couldn't figure out any way of harvesting the honey other than

0:16:420:16:46

poisoning the bees en masse, killing them all, and then taking the honey.

0:16:460:16:52

That's how our forefathers often gathered honey, by killing bees.

0:16:520:16:57

It was only in the mid 19th century,

0:16:570:16:59

when a brilliant clergyman, who was also a beekeeper, called Langstroff

0:16:590:17:04

discovered this concept of bee space, which was exactly the amount of space

0:17:040:17:10

you needed to leave in a hive which

0:17:100:17:12

would ensure that you could remove a frame of honeycomb

0:17:120:17:16

without the bees filling up the space with bee glue

0:17:160:17:19

and building more honeycomb, that

0:17:190:17:20

you could consistently harvest honey without having to kill all the bees.

0:17:200:17:25

So Langstroff had found a way to keep bees alive and farmed,

0:17:250:17:29

but there was an additional benefit.

0:17:290:17:32

These new hives were easily portable.

0:17:320:17:35

They could be stacked on trucks

0:17:350:17:37

and moved around to meet the demands of pollination.

0:17:370:17:40

So farmers no longer needed wild bees to pollinate their crops.

0:17:400:17:44

They could clear land into massive fields where native bees struggled to survive.

0:17:440:17:49

Nowhere more greatly symbolises the dominance of mono cultures than the

0:18:090:18:15

almond orchards of California's Central Valley.

0:18:150:18:17

The almond crop in California wouldn't happen without bees.

0:18:170:18:21

I mean, it takes three things to make almonds.

0:18:210:18:23

First you gotta have almond trees - but that's four things I guess.

0:18:230:18:27

You gotta have almond trees, but you gotta have water, sunlight and bees.

0:18:270:18:30

More than a million hives are required to be brought

0:18:350:18:38

into this 600,000 hectare area in the first weeks of February.

0:18:380:18:43

That's 80% of the hives in the US.

0:18:430:18:48

One time, mostly California bees pollinated the almonds and

0:18:510:18:55

then bees from Dakota and so on moved down as the almond crop grew,

0:18:550:18:59

you know, it took more bees.

0:18:590:19:01

And now with, you know, the disappearance of the bees from CCD,

0:19:010:19:04

Bees are coming from all over the United States to pollinate the crop.

0:19:040:19:08

With hives renting out at over 150 a week, it's a vital

0:19:130:19:18

revenue stream to beekeepers who congregate from across the nation.

0:19:180:19:23

Beekeepers here - 90% of their income is the almond crop.

0:19:230:19:26

So if that's what you're relying on

0:19:260:19:28

every year and you don't have the bees to do the pollination job,

0:19:280:19:31

I don't know how they're gonna survive the next year.

0:19:310:19:34

But being shipped from place to place isn't a natural existence for bees.

0:19:390:19:45

The stresses that bees are under in a commercial outfit are different

0:19:450:19:50

than having a couple of hives in your backyard,

0:19:500:19:53

or even a commercial outfit that's permanently based.

0:19:530:19:57

Dave Mendes runs a large operation with over 8,000 beehives.

0:19:570:20:02

Although Dave is based in Florida,

0:20:090:20:11

his bees are being readied for a 3,000 mile trip to California

0:20:110:20:17

for almond pollination.

0:20:170:20:20

I am not excited about shipping my bees to California.

0:20:200:20:23

I'm doing this to survive.

0:20:230:20:25

Even though his bees are dying and he knows

0:20:250:20:28

that trucking could be dangerous for them, with his business threatened,

0:20:280:20:32

Dave has no choice but to carry on.

0:20:320:20:35

We're spending a whole pile of money to try to figure out

0:20:360:20:39

how to keep these bees alive. I've tripled my feed bill.

0:20:390:20:43

I've more than doubled my labour bill.

0:20:430:20:46

You do everything you can.

0:20:460:20:48

One third of your bees respond really well.

0:20:480:20:51

One third of your bees are OK.

0:20:510:20:54

One third of your bees just lay there and dwindle and

0:20:540:20:58

sometimes you just wanna shake them and try to figure out what's wrong.

0:20:580:21:02

Across the year, Dave's bees travel thousands of miles

0:21:040:21:08

to meet the demands of different crops.

0:21:080:21:11

Could this mass movement be a factor in the hive deaths?

0:21:160:21:21

You can move healthy bee colonies around. No problem. No problem.

0:21:250:21:29

It's a bit like moving humans around.

0:21:290:21:31

You get there and you spend half a day orienting. Where am I?

0:21:310:21:34

And then you're fine. And bees are like that too.

0:21:340:21:37

They're resilient. They really are. But if they're a little bit compromised by something and you

0:21:370:21:42

move them to a location and say, "OK, time to work, and they're, "Wo-ah!".

0:21:420:21:45

You know? Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

0:21:450:21:47

We loaded some trucks last night and then looking at the weather,

0:21:490:21:53

and it's going to be hot.

0:21:530:21:54

If you hit hot weather you're going to need to water the bees in the evening.

0:21:540:21:59

If you hit cool weather then you don't.

0:21:590:22:02

If you're thirsty, so are the bees riding on the back of the truck there.

0:22:020:22:06

The problem with blaming trucking is that it's been going on for

0:22:090:22:13

over 40 years without obviously affecting bees.

0:22:130:22:17

Though nowadays hives are moved more often.

0:22:170:22:20

There's always been a group of people that say, yeah, those commercial guys

0:22:220:22:25

that move their bees around - they're ruining the bees in the United States.

0:22:250:22:29

Well, they're also pollinating

0:22:290:22:31

the fruits and vegetables that we need for the United States.

0:22:310:22:34

Every 18 inches is fine.

0:22:380:22:40

And these beekeepers really care for their bees.

0:22:400:22:44

I know they're bugs.

0:22:440:22:46

I know they're insects. But if your job is to keep bees alive and

0:22:460:22:53

you can't do that for whatever reason, and you can't even

0:22:530:22:57

know why they're dying, you feel like a failure.

0:22:570:23:01

The highest losses are reported by the big commercial beekeepers

0:23:030:23:07

who move their bees around.

0:23:070:23:09

But then, they also had the highest number of hives.

0:23:100:23:15

Studies showed no clear link between the husbandry of individual

0:23:150:23:19

beekeepers and the likelihood that their colonies would be blighted.

0:23:190:23:24

As Dave's bees headed to California, Bret Adee, who'd taken his bees west

0:23:350:23:41

months earlier, was discovering a vanishing of staggering proportions.

0:23:410:23:46

I seen one hive sitting there.

0:24:000:24:02

Don't know if there's any bees left in it.

0:24:020:24:05

I don't know if there's anything here or not.

0:24:050:24:08

Just a little drizzle.

0:24:080:24:10

Few bees there.

0:24:100:24:12

They're not enough.

0:24:140:24:16

They're not viable.

0:24:160:24:18

No. They're gone. They're just...

0:24:180:24:21

They just don't know it yet. There's like six bees there.

0:24:210:24:24

There's no queen.

0:24:240:24:25

So...

0:24:250:24:27

In less than two months, Bret Adee had lost perhaps 200 million bees.

0:24:270:24:34

We came back in January after Christmas break and

0:24:340:24:37

we had beehives that looked beautiful and ones that were trash.

0:24:370:24:41

You know, we originally thought we were limited to a third, but it's been much worse than that.

0:24:410:24:47

And this was after Adee had gone to extraordinary lengths to protect his bees.

0:24:470:24:52

They had all kinds of stores.

0:24:520:24:54

They had honey. They had pollen. We supplemented them with sugar.

0:24:540:24:59

We supplemented them with pollen substitute.

0:24:590:25:01

And they were beautiful bees until it turned cold.

0:25:010:25:05

I've talked to guys that have lost three quarters of their operation,

0:25:050:25:09

and one man that lost over 80% of his operation.

0:25:090:25:13

Those aren't sustainable numbers. You know?

0:25:130:25:16

We've got to either get to the end of this, or beekeeping won't be the same in the United States.

0:25:160:25:22

We can't afford to lose those kind of numbers continually.

0:25:220:25:26

Arriving for the almonds, beekeepers Dave Mendes and

0:25:260:25:30

Dave Hackenberg caught wind of the massive disappearance and rushed to see the thousands of wrecked hives.

0:25:300:25:38

It keeps going.

0:25:380:25:41

All the way up into the hills.

0:25:410:25:43

Every semi spot.

0:25:430:25:45

If he's not upset, there's something wrong here.

0:25:540:25:57

In the back of your mind,

0:25:570:25:59

you think you have an idea what this looks like.

0:25:590:26:02

You can't. You can't imagine this.

0:26:020:26:04

It's like the pictures of the holocaust.

0:26:040:26:07

This is a bee holocaust right here.

0:26:070:26:10

All the way up that valley.

0:26:100:26:12

This whole thing doesn't make any sense

0:26:140:26:16

and if you don't see it yourself, it's monsters in the closet.

0:26:160:26:21

When the bees are dead, you're kind of seeing the end product of it but

0:26:230:26:27

how you got from the beginning to the end is still very unclear

0:26:270:26:32

for all of us. I just wanna see if there's...

0:26:320:26:35

This is what's disturbing.

0:26:350:26:37

There should be dead... You see, this many hives,

0:26:370:26:40

that's not enough dead bees here for this many hives.

0:26:400:26:44

There are flowers here. You should have... There's flowers.

0:26:440:26:47

Well, it's not enough. There is not enough dead bees here.

0:26:470:26:52

So what was causing these mass vanishings?

0:26:520:26:56

Why had bees left the hive and not returned?

0:26:560:27:00

It seemed not to be just a virus.

0:27:000:27:03

It wasn't just stress from trucking.

0:27:030:27:05

There had to be another factor.

0:27:050:27:08

Some beekeepers began to point the finger at an old foe - pesticides.

0:27:080:27:14

# Please don't go crazy if I tell you the truth

0:27:160:27:20

# No, you don't know what happened and you never will... #

0:27:200:27:25

It's partly due to pesticides that we've been able to develop

0:27:250:27:29

large mono cultures, because without them

0:27:290:27:32

vast areas dominated by a single crop

0:27:320:27:35

would quickly become blighted by the bugs that feed on them.

0:27:350:27:38

Pesticides are, by their very nature, killers.

0:27:380:27:43

Early pesticides like DDT killed pretty indiscriminately

0:27:430:27:48

and this had a devastating effect on wild bees.

0:27:480:27:51

However, more modern chemicals have been designed to target

0:27:510:27:56

specific plants and specific pests.

0:27:560:27:59

That's the theory at least.

0:27:590:28:01

# ..It's hardly what I'd be doing if you gave me a choice

0:28:030:28:07

# It's a simple suggestion

0:28:070:28:11

# Can you give me some time?

0:28:110:28:13

# So just say yes or no Why can't you shoulder the blame? #

0:28:130:28:19

Colorado beekeeper Tom Theobald has battled for a greater understanding

0:28:190:28:24

of the impact of these chemicals on bee health for many years.

0:28:240:28:29

As his bees began to die, he became convinced of a connection.

0:28:300:28:36

I'm not an extremist. I understand that pesticides are gonna be used,

0:28:360:28:41

but I think they need to be used with care and good judgement.

0:28:410:28:44

And we have some very simple laws that would encourage that kind of

0:28:440:28:48

usage, but they're routinely ignored

0:28:480:28:51

and disregarded and as a consequence there's enormous damage that's being

0:28:510:28:56

produced by pesticide usage.

0:28:560:28:58

This is the yard where I had the highest winter losses. 80%.

0:28:580:29:04

Ten out of 12 didn't make it.

0:29:040:29:06

So I'm trying to rebuild the numbers and there probably won't be a hundred crop from this bunch.

0:29:070:29:13

I'm concerned that we may be seeing some very subtle consequences of this

0:29:130:29:19

chemical environment that we've been forced to live in.

0:29:190:29:22

Pesticides weren't meant to kill bees but hives left in fields were

0:29:230:29:29

often caught in the crossfire of the battle between farmers and bugs.

0:29:290:29:33

When crops were sprayed, beekeepers would try to ensure that

0:29:360:29:40

their bees were safe from harm by removing hives.

0:29:400:29:43

But as more sophisticated chemicals have developed, it's become perhaps

0:29:430:29:47

harder to assess when they might be in danger.

0:29:470:29:50

What has happened, I think, is that we've had new pesticides that have appeared on the market

0:29:500:29:58

that haven't been properly evaluated

0:29:580:30:00

independently to determine what impact they have on the bees.

0:30:000:30:04

Early generations of pesticides

0:30:070:30:09

would be sprayed directly onto crops.

0:30:090:30:12

But newer ones, known as systemic, are applied to seeds

0:30:120:30:16

and so distributed throughout the plant as it grows.

0:30:160:30:20

The fear is that bees are being affected

0:30:220:30:26

by feeding on nectar and pollen tainted by these new pesticides.

0:30:260:30:31

Tom and other beekeepers in America

0:30:310:30:34

began to question the widespread use of chemicals

0:30:340:30:37

including imidachloprid, sometimes known as gaucho.

0:30:370:30:41

The theory was that these chemicals may affect the brains

0:30:430:30:47

of growing bees, stopping them from being able to find their way home.

0:30:470:30:53

Because a single bee can visit over 1,000 flowers in a single day,

0:30:530:30:57

their navigation system is particularly sophisticated.

0:30:570:31:01

In fact, it's even said that bees can talk.

0:31:010:31:05

When a bee finds a good flower source it returns to its hive,

0:31:050:31:10

and performs what's known as "the waggle dance" -

0:31:100:31:13

a complicated manoeuvre which indicates the distance and direction of the food.

0:31:130:31:18

Other members of the hive can read this dance

0:31:180:31:21

and then find the nectar source.

0:31:210:31:23

The problem is getting back again.

0:31:230:31:26

The question is whether low level or sub-lethal doses of pesticides

0:31:260:31:32

are hindering the bees homing instinct.

0:31:320:31:35

France went through problems very similar to what we're talking about now, the colony collapse disorder

0:31:350:31:41

or the disappearance of bees, and they believe that...

0:31:410:31:44

imidachloprid, gaucho, was causing disorientation in the bees.

0:31:440:31:49

They would leave and be unable to find their way back.

0:31:490:31:52

It interfered with their navigational ability.

0:31:520:31:54

And France banned gaucho.

0:31:560:32:00

France suspended the use of the chemical on sunflowers

0:32:000:32:04

way back in 1999, when beehives fell by a third to a million.

0:32:040:32:09

But the chemical is still widely used elsewhere in Europe and in the US.

0:32:090:32:14

THEY SPEAK FRENCH:

0:32:140:32:17

However, the producers of gaucho

0:32:290:32:31

say that studies prove that imidachloprid is

0:32:310:32:33

completely safe for bees and point to independent research

0:32:330:32:38

that suggests the problems experienced with French bees may have different causes.

0:32:380:32:42

Indeed, since the ban, French hives have continued to decline in number.

0:32:420:32:47

In the US, scientists at Penn State are looking into the link between

0:32:490:32:54

pesticides and colony collapse disorder

0:32:540:32:57

and they've stumbled on a whole new issue -

0:32:570:33:00

that bees are at risk from not one pesticide, but a whole cocktail.

0:33:000:33:06

Samples were collected from a number of different beekeepers, some of whom

0:33:060:33:10

had experienced CCD and some of whom had not.

0:33:100:33:13

And from that we found an incredible amount of pesticides.

0:33:130:33:19

They found evidence of the systemic pesticide imidachloprid that

0:33:190:33:23

beekeepers believed were causing the bees to vanish.

0:33:230:33:27

We did have a concern particularly about systemic pesticides.

0:33:270:33:31

However, in our results, we have found pesticides in every class.

0:33:310:33:38

In every class of pesticides

0:33:380:33:41

that are currently being used, we have found.

0:33:410:33:44

So we've found insecticides, fungicides and herbicides.

0:33:440:33:48

In just one bee, Maryann found 25 different agro chemicals.

0:33:480:33:54

To us, this begs the question,

0:33:540:33:57

what are these pesticides in combination doing?

0:33:570:34:01

We all know that when we go to the pharmacist the first thing

0:34:010:34:04

they wanna know is what other prescriptions are you taking,

0:34:040:34:08

because they're concerned about the potential interaction of compounds.

0:34:080:34:13

The challenge of isolating the effects of a single pesticide was now much harder.

0:34:130:34:18

The reason why it's so complicated is that we can't just look

0:34:200:34:24

at adult bees any more.

0:34:240:34:26

We have to ask the question, what happened when this bee was a larvae?

0:34:260:34:29

When it was a baby bee? And what pesticide did it get?

0:34:290:34:32

And how is that affecting it now as an adult bee?

0:34:320:34:36

Is it interfering with the bee's longevity? Is it shortening its life?

0:34:360:34:40

Is it affecting its immune system?

0:34:400:34:45

The horrific thought is that not one pesticide, but the whole toxic soup

0:34:460:34:52

might be having a long-term effect to push bees over the edge.

0:34:520:34:56

It's not just in America and France that beekeepers are

0:35:120:35:16

reporting problems with pesticides.

0:35:160:35:18

In the UK too, bees are struggling to cope in the changed rural environment.

0:35:180:35:24

We've been having big bee losses since 2002.

0:35:240:35:29

When we brought bees back from pollination we had them all looked at and inspected

0:35:290:35:34

and two weeks later they started dying, and we ended up with just

0:35:340:35:39

bucketfuls of dead bees everywhere.

0:35:390:35:41

Hundreds of thousands of dead bees.

0:35:410:35:44

Though his bees weren't vanishing, they were dying in front of the hives.

0:35:440:35:50

If it's one of the recognised diseases, then

0:35:500:35:54

you know what it is and hopefully you can take some action.

0:35:540:35:58

In this scenario, you have you have no recourse to

0:35:580:36:04

do anything. Absolutely zilch.

0:36:040:36:07

You've just got to stand by and watch them die and when it's your livelihood, that's pretty tough.

0:36:070:36:14

Mike knew his bees were struggling because of the lack of wild

0:36:180:36:22

plants to feed on, but what's startling is the difference he saw

0:36:220:36:27

when hives were put in farmland.

0:36:270:36:30

We had one load of bees that came back from pollination

0:36:300:36:34

that had all been together, from April going back to October.

0:36:340:36:40

When they came back from pollination they were split three ways.

0:36:400:36:43

One third went into a wood.

0:36:430:36:46

Two hundred acres predominately of lime trees,

0:36:460:36:49

and no bees died there at all.

0:36:490:36:51

And on the other two sites, which

0:36:510:36:53

are in intensive agricultural areas, that's where the colonies collapsed.

0:36:530:36:57

Something triggered the bees to collapse on those two sites.

0:36:570:37:01

It must be connected with the agricultural crops and the sprays and the seed treatments.

0:37:010:37:09

I mean, there is no other explanation.

0:37:090:37:12

But Mike's never been able to prove a pesticide connection.

0:37:120:37:17

However, he's not the only British beekeeper suffering massive losses.

0:37:170:37:24

In the spring of 2008, there were horrific sights across the country

0:37:240:37:28

when hives were opened up.

0:37:280:37:30

Nearly a third of Britain's bees had been wiped out,

0:37:300:37:34

but in a perhaps surprising place, one man's bees are thriving.

0:37:340:37:39

MUSIC: "London Calling" by The Clash

0:37:390:37:42

I'm an urban beekeeper.

0:37:590:38:01

That means I keep my bees within urban areas,

0:38:010:38:04

i.e. - the City of London.

0:38:040:38:05

I've got beehives in south London, Brixton, right through

0:38:050:38:10

to on an industrial estate up in King's Cross.

0:38:100:38:13

My bee losses have been no higher in the last few years

0:38:130:38:16

than I've ever had in any winter and in fact lower last winter

0:38:160:38:19

than ever before.

0:38:190:38:20

Ironically in the city, there seems to be more food

0:38:200:38:24

and perhaps cleaner food for bees to eat.

0:38:240:38:28

London and a lot of urban environments are quite green.

0:38:280:38:31

When you look, you see parks, small gardens dotted everywhere.

0:38:310:38:34

The beautiful thing about keeping bees in an urban environment

0:38:340:38:38

is the diversity of plants.

0:38:380:38:40

There's usually something in bloom all year round.

0:38:400:38:43

In the countryside, especially with modern agricultural practices,

0:38:430:38:47

you have great swathes of land which are just supporting one crop.

0:38:470:38:50

So that might bloom for two, three weeks but then there'll be nothing.

0:38:500:38:54

So I think the city is probably one of the best places to be keeping bees at the moment.

0:38:560:39:01

There's plenty of forage for them and you don't have all the problems you have in the countryside

0:39:010:39:06

with insecticides and pesticides being sprayed.

0:39:060:39:09

There you go. See you again in a few weeks, girls.

0:39:120:39:15

So are pesticides the explanation of why British bees were suddenly dying in such huge numbers?

0:39:170:39:24

If only it were that simple.

0:39:240:39:28

At the National Bee Unit in York,

0:39:310:39:33

government experts are looking into the problem of honey bee deaths.

0:39:330:39:38

We've been getting reports through our own inspectors

0:39:380:39:42

and from the beekeepers that there's an increased loss of bees.

0:39:420:39:46

Why that is happening is more difficult to pin down.

0:39:460:39:50

One cause they feel is a factor is perhaps the biggest global problem of all - climate change.

0:39:530:39:59

Climate change is changing weather patterns.

0:40:000:40:04

It's not just about global warming.

0:40:040:40:07

It's about weather being unseasonal.

0:40:070:40:10

If it's very windy or very wet or even snowing out there,

0:40:100:40:14

pollinators will not forage.

0:40:140:40:16

They will stay in their hives and that's meant that honey bees

0:40:160:40:20

have gone into the winter with poor stocks of food.

0:40:200:40:23

But it has to be more than bad weather which is causing British bees to die.

0:40:250:40:30

As elsewhere, viruses are being spread at an alarming rate.

0:40:300:40:35

THUNDER CRACKS

0:40:350:40:37

The reason lurks in beehives across the country, and is,

0:40:370:40:42

according to experts, the main cause of bee deaths around the world.

0:40:420:40:47

It's an old enemy of the honey bee and a known killer.

0:40:470:40:51

The Varroa mite.

0:40:510:40:53

MUSIC: "Creep" by Radiohead

0:40:530:40:56

The Varroa mite is a really very large parasite,

0:41:020:41:06

so in relation to the size of the bee it's a thing sort of this big

0:41:060:41:10

and it can transmit virus diseases that you normally find

0:41:100:41:15

in adult bees into the larvae and virus diseases that you find

0:41:150:41:19

in the larvae into the adults.

0:41:190:41:22

It's these virus diseases that have become very devastating.

0:41:220:41:25

# ..But I'm a creep... #

0:41:270:41:30

The parasitic Varroa mite was first discovered to have jumped species

0:41:300:41:35

from the Asian honey bee onto the European honey bee

0:41:350:41:39

shortly after the Second World War.

0:41:390:41:42

From Russia in the 1950s through Europe in the 1970s,

0:41:430:41:49

America in the 1980s, Britain in the 1990s, the Varroa mite has spread throughout the world.

0:41:490:41:55

Like fleas on rats, the Varroa carries diseases

0:41:550:42:00

that are fatal to hives.

0:42:000:42:02

Everywhere that Varroa has been found around the world people have reported

0:42:020:42:07

very high losses of their bees and often colonies are wiped out completely.

0:42:070:42:12

Medicines have been developed to kill the parasite,

0:42:130:42:18

but over the last few years, it's become resistant.

0:42:180:42:21

As well as disease, pesticides and climate change,

0:42:210:42:26

it's left beekeepers battling another foe in the war

0:42:260:42:29

to keep honey bees alive.

0:42:290:42:31

The situation we're in now is that we don't have

0:42:310:42:35

an easy control of Varroa any more.

0:42:350:42:39

I'll just get this alight.

0:42:390:42:43

The new super parasite is devastating colonies.

0:42:430:42:49

Beekeepers are forced to resort to homemade remedies.

0:42:490:42:52

We'll just pick a hive that hopefully is not going to be too stroppy when I take the top off.

0:42:550:43:01

So 50ml in a syringe

0:43:010:43:06

because this stuff should have been a bit warmer than this.

0:43:060:43:10

This is syrup solution with 3.5% oxalic acid in.

0:43:100:43:17

They will eat that and the acid will hopefully

0:43:170:43:22

be enough to cause the mites to drop off the bee.

0:43:220:43:26

Worker bee lasts six weeks in the summer.

0:43:260:43:29

In the winter time they will survive from say October through until March-April time,

0:43:290:43:37

if you've got good healthy bees.

0:43:370:43:38

If you haven't got healthy bees then you'll find they're all dead by the spring.

0:43:380:43:43

They're like my children.

0:43:430:43:45

That's how you feel about it.

0:43:450:43:47

And not knowing that there's anything you can do just makes it worse.

0:43:470:43:53

It was a seemingly endless battle for beekeepers just to stay in business.

0:43:550:44:00

What they needed was solutions,

0:44:000:44:02

so they decided to take their issues to the seat of government.

0:44:020:44:06

CROWD CHANTS: Save our bees! Save our bees!

0:44:100:44:15

In November 2008, several hundred beekeepers marched on Parliament.

0:44:150:44:21

I run 20 colonies.

0:44:220:44:25

20 colonies. Yes.

0:44:250:44:27

I've got two. I'm a beginner.

0:44:270:44:29

I've been keeping bees for over 40 years now

0:44:290:44:33

and certainly the health of bees now is at a greater risk than it has been in the past.

0:44:330:44:40

They talked of numerous types of deaths, some from known causes,

0:44:400:44:45

others more mysterious. Several even reported the vanishing phenomenon.

0:44:450:44:49

SHOUTS: Save our British bees!

0:44:490:44:51

The bees go into a semi hibernation state during the winter months

0:44:510:44:55

and it isn't until next spring

0:44:550:44:57

that you find there are no bees at all in the colony.

0:44:570:45:00

Absolutely none. Not a single bee.

0:45:000:45:02

They just disappeared.

0:45:020:45:04

Honey bees are extremely important to us all and if we don't sort out the problems of honey bee disease

0:45:040:45:10

in the next few years, it's quite possible that honey bees

0:45:100:45:14

will disappear in the UK.

0:45:140:45:15

I mean you open up a hive with no bees in it, you just stand there speechless.

0:45:150:45:20

You go into an apple orchard and there's apples.

0:45:200:45:23

Take the bees away, no apples.

0:45:230:45:24

You have to remember that bees and plants have evolved together

0:45:240:45:28

over 10-20 million years in the environment

0:45:280:45:30

and that losing one must inevitably affect the efficiency and lifestyle of the other.

0:45:300:45:36

While British beekeepers marched on Parliament, back in the US, bees were continuing to die.

0:45:460:45:54

Keepers were not only suffering vanishings

0:45:540:45:57

but also from the effects of the treatment-resistant Varroa mite.

0:45:570:46:02

There was a real anxiety that there wouldn't be enough bees to pollinate crops.

0:46:020:46:06

So farmers turned to one of the few countries left where bees were thriving -

0:46:080:46:14

Australia.

0:46:140:46:15

MUSIC: "You Stole The Sun" by Manic Street Preachers

0:46:150:46:20

OK, let's get started.

0:46:350:46:36

We're shaking... what we call shaking package bees.

0:46:510:46:55

Packing the bees from the hives into the packages we export them to into the US.

0:46:550:46:59

First of all we have to sort of get a lot of bees from the bottom boxes,

0:46:590:47:03

push them into the top box,

0:47:030:47:04

and then we lift that box off and blow the bees out into shaker boxes.

0:47:040:47:09

Then they are weighed out into funnels

0:47:150:47:18

and then inverted into the packages that we actually export the bees in

0:47:180:47:22

and we can weigh them all exactly the right amount -

0:47:220:47:25

four pounds of bees are going to the US, with a queen bee,

0:47:250:47:30

and five packages go in a rack.

0:47:300:47:33

Unlike every other developed country,

0:47:370:47:39

Australian bees are flourishing, which means there are plenty of healthy bees available for export.

0:47:390:47:47

Australia has so far avoided that scourge of bees everywhere - the Varroa mite.

0:47:470:47:54

But for how long?

0:47:540:47:56

If the mite was to arrive here in Australia it would probably come in

0:47:560:47:59

on, say, a European honey bee from another country,

0:47:590:48:02

cos all other countries have got the mite now.

0:48:020:48:05

So if a bee was to arrive here on a boat it could jump off the boat,

0:48:050:48:10

onto land and then start spreading and introduce the mite.

0:48:100:48:14

If Varroa got here, it would be devastating.

0:48:140:48:18

To protect their bees Australian authorities are spending a fortune on bio security.

0:48:250:48:32

So we have what we call a port surveillance programme in place.

0:48:320:48:37

We have what we call sentinel hives.

0:48:370:48:39

That's our number one defence.

0:48:390:48:41

Hives in strategic places like ports and airports

0:48:410:48:46

are monitored on a three-monthly basis.

0:48:460:48:49

We monitor those hives,

0:48:490:48:51

so we put in chemicals and we check for mite levels, just in case

0:48:510:48:55

a swarm hasn't come off a boat, landed on shore with mites on it.

0:48:550:48:59

If Varroa got here, we would have a shortage of bees.

0:48:590:49:03

So things like exports would be out.

0:49:030:49:05

In the meantime, exporters like Terry Brown are making thousands of dollars exporting live bees.

0:49:100:49:17

The packages are sealed securely so that no bees are left on the outside of the cases.

0:49:400:49:46

Although the passengers are probably unaware of it,

0:49:560:49:59

these packages of live bees are then placed in the hold

0:49:590:50:02

of scheduled aircraft and flown for 14 hours to Los Angeles

0:50:020:50:07

where they can be sent off to the fields

0:50:070:50:10

to pollinate in a foreign, and potentially toxic environment.

0:50:100:50:15

This is clearly an unsustainable way of propping up

0:50:180:50:22

the planet's agricultural system

0:50:220:50:25

and would collapse overnight if Australia's bees

0:50:250:50:29

began to display the problems of those in the rest of the world.

0:50:290:50:33

While Australian bees were crossing the Pacific,

0:50:390:50:42

scientists at the University of Sussex decided to tackle the matter

0:50:420:50:48

by turning it on its head.

0:50:480:50:50

Their thinking is simple -

0:50:500:50:52

as well as focusing on finding the causes of deaths, they're attempting

0:50:520:50:56

to breed bee colonies that are more resistant to disease.

0:50:560:51:00

What we're doing is we're taking our existing British race of the honey bee

0:51:020:51:06

and we're finding which hives are hygienic

0:51:060:51:09

and we're breeding from them.

0:51:090:51:10

So we're breeding, you might say, an improved British bee.

0:51:100:51:13

Inside a hive, bees arrange themselves on a very strict hierarchy.

0:51:140:51:20

The queen is the only bee that lays eggs.

0:51:200:51:23

All the rest are divided into tasks, from the foragers who go out to collect food,

0:51:230:51:27

to the bees that guard the entrance from intruders,

0:51:270:51:31

to others, whose job it is to keep the hive clean.

0:51:310:51:34

And it's the efficiency of these bees that professor Francis Ratnieks and his team are keen to exploit.

0:51:340:51:41

Hygienic bees control these brood diseases

0:51:410:51:46

by removing any dead larvae or pupae very soon after it gets sick.

0:51:460:51:52

The idea is that one bad apple can spoil a whole barrel of apples

0:51:520:51:57

and if the bees can remove them then they can prevent the disease infecting the whole colony.

0:51:570:52:01

Since they all look rather similar,

0:52:030:52:05

the trick is learning how to select the right bees.

0:52:050:52:09

To do this researchers take combs from hives and kill an area of the larval bees by freezing.

0:52:090:52:16

The comb is photographed and returned to the hive.

0:52:160:52:20

48 hours later, researchers go back

0:52:200:52:25

to see how many of the dead bees have been removed.

0:52:250:52:28

Some hives are really good at clearing out the corpses

0:52:280:52:31

while others are less efficient.

0:52:310:52:33

The cleaner the comb, the more hygienic the bee,

0:52:350:52:38

and it's these that are selected for breeding.

0:52:380:52:41

We're not actually doing any genetic changes but nevertheless we use

0:52:410:52:46

some modern genetic methods,

0:52:460:52:48

if you like, to tell which is the best mother or the best father

0:52:480:52:52

to use in our breeding programme.

0:52:520:52:55

While the Sussex programme and others around the world

0:52:550:52:58

use modern scientific techniques to accelerate and improve on

0:52:580:53:02

traditional breeding methods, the research will still take time.

0:53:020:53:06

Time in which bees are continuing to die.

0:53:090:53:12

In America, after three years of astonishing vanishings,

0:53:170:53:21

scientists are still unable to find a single

0:53:210:53:25

definite culprit on which to blame the disorder, Colony Collapse or CCD.

0:53:250:53:32

Pesticides may be playing a part, but most experts have concluded

0:53:320:53:37

that there's a range of factors involved.

0:53:370:53:40

From diseases, to trucking, to lack of varied food sources.

0:53:400:53:45

There is no-one cause of CCD.

0:53:450:53:47

There is nothing, at least that we have been able to find by looking

0:53:470:53:52

very hard, there is no one reason for this collapse.

0:53:520:53:57

What's clear is that Colony Collapse Disorder

0:53:570:54:01

isn't the only problem that bees are facing.

0:54:010:54:04

In most parts of the world they're battling Varroa

0:54:040:54:07

and a range of other diseases.

0:54:070:54:09

Science may be learning more about bees, but so far it's been unable

0:54:090:54:14

to come up with effective solutions to keep them alive.

0:54:140:54:18

Here's a bee colony that can't live

0:54:180:54:21

in the environment that we're giving them.

0:54:210:54:24

And bees are out there

0:54:240:54:27

sweeping the environment.

0:54:270:54:29

That's what they do.

0:54:290:54:32

And they come back in the colony

0:54:320:54:35

and the nest may be contaminated.

0:54:350:54:37

And it may be full of mites.

0:54:370:54:40

And then they get moved around to pollinate crops.

0:54:400:54:45

It's just too much.

0:54:450:54:48

They are showing us directly what we're doing to the environment.

0:54:480:54:55

Bees act as a barometer for the general health of the planet

0:54:560:55:01

and I think if you've got one creature

0:55:010:55:04

that's been so widespread across the planet

0:55:040:55:07

and suddenly it's under such attack that they're almost being

0:55:070:55:10

wiped out, we've got to be asking how that's feeding further up

0:55:100:55:14

the food chain and right across nature.

0:55:140:55:16

While science scrambles for a definite answer

0:55:160:55:20

to why bees are dying, there are things that we, as individuals,

0:55:200:55:25

can do to help save our bees.

0:55:250:55:27

Most people don't have a lot of land, they just have a small garden,

0:55:290:55:32

but if we took all the gardens

0:55:320:55:34

across the whole of the country, it's a substantial area

0:55:340:55:37

so individuals can make a difference by making sure that their gardens

0:55:370:55:41

have as many wild flowers...

0:55:410:55:43

Or they don't have to be wild flowers,

0:55:430:55:45

they could be garden flowers, just so long as they provide something for wildlife.

0:55:450:55:51

I think if you've got land, make it available.

0:55:510:55:54

Maybe get three or four hives or allow a young, oncoming beekeeper

0:55:540:55:58

to actually keep a few hives in your space.

0:55:580:56:00

I think that's a good way of moving forward, and you'll get a few jars of honey!

0:56:000:56:04

At last we're finally realising just how much we depend on bees.

0:56:070:56:12

Just how much of human life, as we know it,

0:56:120:56:16

wouldn't exist without the bees.

0:56:160:56:18

The only good thing I can see coming out of this terrible loss of honey bee colonies

0:56:180:56:24

is that maybe we'll finally redress the balance and feel a bit more gratitude to bees.

0:56:240:56:30

When I think of the problems facing bees and why they've been bought to

0:56:320:56:37

the brink, I have to wonder whether they're the canary in the coalmine.

0:56:370:56:42

An early warning about the state of our planet.

0:56:420:56:46

It's clear that to help the bee, we have to think about the environment

0:56:460:56:51

and ways that we can change our own behaviour.

0:56:510:56:54

I know now from bitter experience how easily they can disappear.

0:57:030:57:08

This winter was absolutely terrible for my bees.

0:57:160:57:21

When the hive was opened up in the spring most of them were dead.

0:57:210:57:25

That's the third time it's happened to me.

0:57:250:57:28

It's very distressing when you see thousands of these creatures

0:57:280:57:31

that you've looked after throughout the year

0:57:310:57:34

lying dead on the floor of the hive.

0:57:340:57:36

I've decided I am going to try and rebuild my colony,

0:57:370:57:41

even though it's difficult, because it's so important that we try and boost the population of bees.

0:57:410:57:49

This isn't simply about getting honey, or beekeeping as a hobby -

0:57:490:57:53

it's about protecting vital sources of food for all of us.

0:57:530:57:58

We need to create an environment in which bees can survive,

0:57:580:58:01

not just for now but for generations to come.

0:58:010:58:05

After all, a world which is kind to the honey bee

0:58:050:58:09

has to be good for the rest of us too.

0:58:090:58:11

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:260:58:29

E-mail [email protected]

0:58:290:58:32

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS