Bees – more specifically their numbers and health – have been of growing concern in recent years. The health and virility of hive populations has become a bellwether for the environment worldwide. If the bees are buzzing we must be OK, right? But in many parts of the world they are not – and scientists are worried.
A call to arms for the humble bee has lead to an increasing number of backyard keepers eager and willing to learn how to manage a hive of their own (with the added fillip that you get your own honey).
There have been classes in the Castlemaine area for people interested in learning about the honey bee - and how it helps us all.
And the drought (or, actually the lack of flowers caused by the drought) has lead to a shortage of some varieties of honey this year.
Yes, bees have had it a bit rough. But help is at hand. Kyneton’s Claire Moore is in the running for the 2019 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award for her idea to breed a “resilient, diverse and adaptable strain of bees” that can adapt to a wide range of climates.
It’s an idea that has also been explored in the new Netflix’s film IO, in which Earth is a post-apocalyptic, polluted wasteland and the population has fled off-planet to a colony on IO, one of Jupiter’s moons.
A young scientist, one of the last people to remain on Earth, works to find a way to save the planet. To prove that animals and humans can adapt to their new environments. That all hope is not lost.
At the centre of her experiments are bees and the careful, painstaking attempts to breed adaptability into the queens and hives. A single queen bee born into a world in which she should not have survived holds hope for humanity’s survival. For if the bees can adapt, the film posits, then there is hope that we can too.
The movie speaks ominously of climate change run amok and of a bleak future for the planet. But at the same time it taps into the hope of evolution - that given time we can adapt to our changing environment, even if it appears hopelessly toxic. With the bees leading the way.
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