Bees are fascinating creatures, but thanks to their stinger many people fear them instead of appreciating them. Bees are a necessary component to every day life, responsible for pollinating 1/3 of the world’s food crop. Without bees life as we know it would cease to exist. We have all heard that bees are disappearing, but why?
Unfortunately, bees are dying out in vast numbers due to habitat loss, disease and a number of other issues. One of the largest contributors to the declining bee population is the destructor mite known as the Varroa. This pin-sized mite attacks bees and sucks their blood, weakening their immune system and making them more vulnerable to disease and stress. Infant bees are the most susceptible to these attacks, although eventually the mites are able to weaken an entire colony of bees.
Talented photographer Anand Varma has teamed up with UC Davis to create a video highlighting the first 21 days of a bee’s life. He was hired to document the delicate process in order to help scientists find a better way to preserve the bee population and uncover what is really going on when the mites attack.
Varma raised bees in his own backyard in order to get an up close and personal look like never before. The stunning timelapse video lasts 60-seconds and was filmed over the first 21 days, or 3 weeks, of a bee’s life.
The main goal of the video was to uncover how bees react to parasitic mites since they are now the greatest known threat to bee colonies. Thus far scientists have successfully breed a mite resistant bee but it lacks some of the key traits of natural bees, such as their gentle nature and ability to store honey.
The video above presented by National Geographic is without commentary but Varma discussed the project in great detail during a TED talk included below.
Photo Credits: Anand Varma