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The Secret Weapon That Could Help Save Bees

Hi, this is Alex, from MinuteEarth. Each spring in California, so many almond
trees put out flowers at the same time that local bees can’t pollinate them all. So, almond farmers pay beekeepers to bring
bees from all over the country at exactly the moment the trees flower. That might seem crazy, but, almonds and other
bee-pollinated crops are worth 17 billion dollars a year, so it’s worth it to farmers,
and to beekeepers, who make more money renting out their bees than selling honey. Unfortunately, when we bring so many bees
together, parasites and diseases easily spread from one bee colony to another. And when bees feed on just one type of crop
at a time, they don’t get all the vitamins and minerals they need. What’s more, the honeybees can get sickened
by the pesticides that keep crops safe from other insects. As a result of all this, since 1960, the number
of commercial bees in the US has fallen by half. And since so many crops require bees for pollination,
and farmers are planting more crops every year to keep up with demand, if bee numbers
continue to drop, it could jeopardize our future food supply. But we’re learning how to help bees. Beekeepers and farmers are working together
to reduce bees’ exposure to pesticides. Non-profits and bee lovers are planting more
wildflowers across the landscape, so commercial and wild bees have a more diverse diet. And universities are breeding parasite- and
disease-resistant bees. And we can also help bees fight parasites
with a chemical weapon they already have in their own arsenal – propolis. Honeybees in the wild smear this substance
inside their nests, which sanitizes them and keeps intruders out. To make propolis, bees visit trees and collect
resins rich in flavonoids and aromatic acids, which are toxic to many organisms. Then they mix the resins with wax, making
a sticky antibiotic glue. Bees in commercial hives also make propolis,
but they only use it to seal gaps, and don’t smear it on the inside walls, probably because
the walls are smoother than the inside of a tree. In these hives, bee larvae often get sick. But, if you build a hive out of rough, unfinished
lumber or attach plastic pieces filled with holes to the walls, bees spread way more propolis
and their larvae suffer way fewer infections. So beekeepers are starting to rough up their
own beehives to encourage their bees to spread propolis. This helps the bees stay healthy, and keep
pollinating crops and making honey. That is a sweet solution. This video was sponsored by the University
of Minnesota, where students, faculty and staff across all fields of study are working
to solve the Grand Challenges facing society. One of these challenges is to ensure we can
feed the world sustainably, and part of the solution is to foster ecosystem resilience. In the Department of Entomology, Professor
Marla Spivak and researchers in the Bee Lab are working to promote the conservation, health,
and diversity of the bees that pollinate our crops, whether they’re wild or commercial. The Bee Lab has even bred a line of disease-resistant
honey bees. Thanks, University of Minnesota!

59 thoughts on “The Secret Weapon That Could Help Save Bees

  1. So only honeybees the only Bee that kills other bees besides wasps so should we really be helping on Them honestly be open on the other types and yet there are over 20,000 different type that would do you much better


    They steal nectar for and make honey put they do that so other pollinators cannot pollinate.

  3. According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway because bees don't care what humans think is impossible.

  4. Only problem. European bees, commercial bees, are an invasive species. They kinda kill a lot of wild bees. Why don't we just use wild bees in America and just have huny imported? Like you said it's not like huny makes a lot of money for the bee keepers.

  5. Make a change by stopping Chemtrails spraying us all, that way Bees wonΒ΄t die, Trees wonΒ΄t die, People wonΒ΄t get illnesses that doctors canΒ΄t heal…

  6. 2:05 !!!😳😲 PLANK !!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ’–πŸ˜πŸ’–πŸ˜πŸ’– ughhhhhhh! Everything is so good right now . Education and nostalgia πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ thank you!

  7. i concur, had a severe hand infection, put some home made propolis on the infection, went to sleep and woke up as if i never had an infection to begin with.

  8. The diversity sure plays a big role, my professor always thought us about how important it's to keep the diversity and how it makes it more efficient for us. No need for synthesic chemical role when there is diversity, it's just how we make use of it so it get efficient for us

  9. 🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝

  10. Why do so many people want to save an invasive species. They destroy the native bee populations across the country. Our native pollinators are being destroyed and replace with a single species that is susceptible to natural and unnatural attacks. Just imagine a countrywide biological attack on honey bees that spreads very fast. How long before our food supply starts to dwindle? How many years would it take for our near-destroyed native pollinators to rebound well enough to feed us? Saving honey bees is literally the worst thing we could do.

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