It’s About Bee-ing Alive

Must-watch: A stunning time-lapse video of the first 21 days of a bee's life by photographer Anand Varma

Must-watch: A stunning time-lapse video of the first 21 days of a bee’s life by photographer Anand Varma

Your first instinct when around a honeybee is to keep distance. But not for Indian American photographer Anand Varma. When he was asked to photograph a story on honeybees for National Geographic magazine, he knew he was going to have to take a different approach to capture new views of one of the world’s most photographed insects. And he did, his photographs forming a brilliant timelapse video of the first 21 days in a bee’s life. Over the video and the stellar photographs, the exercise addresses a key issue: the disappearance of bees and colonies dying quickly. Now why is this a problem?

Bees pollinate 80 per cent of the world’s crops and some like almonds are pollinated only by them. Disappearance of bees not only adversely affects food production, in turn pushing up food prices, with aggravated impacts on the economy – disappearance of bees impacts all of life, itself. So yes, disappearance and death of bees does not bode well at all.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that since 2008, American beekeepers have reported dramatic losses in 30 percent to 90 percent of their hives, making colony collapse disorder the most likely cause. In this case, it is normal to see a queen and eggs left behind. However, worker bees suddenly disappear. In fact, it is usually an overnight occurrence. Oklahoma was one of eight states where more than 60 percent of hives have died since April 2014, according to a survey released this month by the Bee Informed Partnership funded in part by the U.S. Agriculture Department.The study found that more than two out of five honeybee colonies in the United State died over the past year.

Reasons range from invasive mites to pesticides, climate change and stress, but are significant enough for the White House to roll out an $82 million plan to protect bees and other pollinating insects. No doubt about this being a question of to be or not to bee.

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