KEEPING BEES ALIVE

BY MARKUS GMEINER AND KARIN FALTEJSEK

MARKUS AND BJÖRN OWN A COUPLE OF BEE COLONIES IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA. AFTER ONLY A FEW YEARS OF BEE KEEPING EXPERIENCE, ONE BEE COLONY PRODUCE AROUND 25-40 KG OF HONEY A YEAR. THEIR BEES FACE MANY THREATS. BECAUSE OF PARASITES, ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS AND INDUSTRIAL FARMING BEE POPULATIONS ARE DYING. THE HIGH MORTALITY RATE OF BEES ISN‘T JUST AN ISSUE FOR THE HONEY PRODUCTION BUT ALSO FOR THE SUPPLY OF FOOD.

BEES ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT POLLINATORS ON EARTH. THEY SECURE A THIRD OF THE GLOBAL SUPPLY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. SCIENTISTS SEE A SOLUTION IN MORE RESISTANT BEES, BREED WITH BIOTECHNOLOGY AND GENETIC MODIFICATION. OTHERS SAY TREATING NATURE WITH MORE RESPECT AND GOING BACK TO MORE ORGANIC FARMING TO TAKE THE STRAIN OFF THE BEES IS THE RIGHT WAY.

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