When I was a young boy, I heard a story about a kid drinking soda from a can while a bee waited inside to greet his upper lip. This horrifying tale of an unjust bee-sting left me inspecting my canned beverages before slurping future-diabetes-inducing carbonation.
Decades later, this fear of soda-can bees has changed into a fear of what we're doing to these amazing insects. This realization comes from learning about a serious bee-related phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). This complicated issue is a growing concern, especially as bee colonies are being decimated with no clear explanation. CCD has gained media coverage and has been the focus of recent documentaries such as Colony and Vanishing of the Bees.
Last summer, my curiosity regarding CCD (...and an appreciation for local honey) sent my friends and me to Hunter’s Honey Farm in Martinsville to learn about bees and to see how they're really doing. Our time on the farm taught us a great deal about bees and the multitude of benefits they bring to our lives. This made us realize our responsibility to speak out and tell our state and federal representatives that we need to take our environment, our food system, and our bees seriously. In the end, we were reminded that we want to live in a world that allows all of us (bees, too!) to enjoy our ecosystems, our food system and maybe even our cans of soda.