For years now, we’ve heard “save the bees” rallying cries from the media, environmental groups, and concerned friends. We’ve read about poisonous pesticides and the ever-mysterious “colony collapse disorder,” which tends to get framed as some kind of bee rapture: all the bees are vanishing. In the past few years, “save the bees” has been the new “save the whales.”
This is not to say all is well in bee-land — it’s not. In fact, The Verge has covered many of the enduring threats to the health of bees around the world. But, for an insect that enables maybe 35 percent of our global crop production, there’s a lot of confusion about who we’re even talking about when we say “save the bees.”
So, we made a video to suss it all out. We spoke with a bee researcher who works with the University of California, Davis. And, with some heavy gloves and those veils that look like fencing masks, we filmed lots of bees up close and personal. Take a look.