Daily Recco, May 20: Who Killed The Honey Bee?

Rajeshwari Ganesan
Rajeshwari GanesanMay 20, 2021 | 13:31

Daily Recco, May 20: Who Killed The Honey Bee?

The 2009 documentary Who Killed the Honey Bee will make you think of a world without bees. Consequences are more alarming than fewer stings and breakfast options.

How often has it been that you stepped out into your garden, spotted a honeycomb and ran for cover fearing the sting?

But did you know that if a bee stung you, you will be left with moderate pain or reaction for a few days? But what of the bee? It dies. The barbs in their stingers get caught in the thick skin (pun unintended) of mammals like humans, and removing the stinger is fatal to the bee.

And that, my friend, is just the beginning of exploring the beautiful world with honeybees. These little wonders mean a lot more to the planet, and to our existence than their buzz and the honey. They are critical pollinators, pollinating 70 of around 100 crop species that feed 90 per cent of the world. Speaking in money terms, honeybees are responsible for USD 30 billion a year in crops alone. And we have not factored in the honey, the beeswax and the employment generation because of apiculture here.

There is a key question we need to ask on World Bee Day today: Can there be a world without bees?

If you are still thinking along the lines of fewer stings and breakfast options in a bee-less world, think again. A world without bees would have major rippling effects throughout ecosystems. Albert Einstein is sometimes quoted as saying, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” It’s highly unlikely that Einstein said that. But the statement is highly likely to be true.

If you need more convincing to save those little yellow and brown buzzers, watch Who Killed the Honey Bee (2009) by James Esrkine. This one-hour BBC documentary will give you a good introduction to Colony Collapse Disorder — the abnormal phenomenon that occurs when the worker bees in a colony disappear, leaving behind a queen, plenty of food, and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees. The film explores the decline of bee colonies across the globe, from the farm belt of California to the flatlands of East Anglia to the outback of Australia. 

Narrated by Martha Kearney, the film will leave you pondering on the consequences of bee demise. And that is not so sweet.

Last updated: June 07, 2021 | 19:00
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