Bees’ graphic black and yellow markings make them easy to spot, but in recent years it has become harder to see these busy workers as whole populations collapse. Two Berliners devised a creative way to increase the visibility of these insects and their essential role in the ecosystem.
Darting through flower gardens, vegetable patches, and fruit orchards, bees gather and transfer pollen among plants of a same species so that they produce new seeds. About a third of the foods people eat— many fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and oils—depends on bees’ tireless work. Yet climate change and modern agricultural practices are endangering the world’s bees. In Germany, where 30% of the bee population has vanished, activists elevated public awareness by attaching hives to the roofs of famous landmarks in the country’s capital of Berlin. It took some convincing before officials allowed swarms to take up residence on the parliament building and city cathedral, but the program has grown so popular that now the planetarium and opera house want in on the act.
- What simple things can people, including youth, do to to help bees in their immediate neighborhoods?
- How many species of bees inhabit the area where you live and how are they faring?