The death of bees, in a nutshell: 6-minute video explores colony collapse disorder

Death of bees screenshot
Video screen capture Kurz Gesagt

Honeybees are an integral part of our food system, and their demise could spell big trouble for us. This video explainer offers a quick and easy-to-understand look at the issue.

Between pesticides, parasites, and the unintended consequences of our own food and agriculture systems, the populations of honeybees and other pollinators are under a lot of pressure, leading some prominent voices to predict a "beemageddon" if something doesn't change. Pollinators, both wild and domesticated, are the unsung heroes of our food system, as they are responsible for the fertility of large numbers of our food crops, and without which our food choices would rapidly dwindle.

We've previously covered a number of honeybee and other pollinator stories, including the news of the loss of almost half of the US commercial and backyard honeybee colonies, and the very slow progress in diagnosing the complex issue of what's behind colony collapse disorder, but for most of us who aren't beekeepers, even the basics of the 'death of bees' is still a bit of a mystery.

And that's where this great short video explainer comes in, because in just 6 minutes, it covers not only the scope of the problem, but also the causes and conditions that are implicated in the decline of one of our most important pollinators.

Kurz Gesagt (which is German for "in a nutshell“), a Munich-based design studio, put together this animated look at the troubling state of honeybees, which may serve as a great quick introduction for those who haven't heard of the issue, as well as a source of some good talking points for those who are already familiar with the issue and are trying to raise awareness (and to change policies and regulations) about the problem.

"In 2015 the bees are still dying in masses. Which at first seems not very important until you realize that one third of all food humans consume would disappear with them. Millions could starve. The foes bees face are truly horrifying – some are a direct consequence of human greed. We need to help our small buzzing friends or we will face extremely unpleasant consequences."

While the issue of dropping honeybee populations seems to an accepted one, there are certainly opposing views, such as that expressed in this article, which argues that a much-touted study linking neonicotinoids and CCD is very flawed, and "is just not good science."

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