Moritz Stefaner put together a very interesting infographic for Scientific American which succinctly illustrates a variety of wild bee statistics for Carlinville, Ill. At a glance you can see many types of bees have disappeared and that foraging behaviour has drastically changed in the last 120 years.
As Ontatio's provincial apiarist reported the numbers of hives moving from Ontario to the blueberries ~1000+km away has more than doubled in the last few years, the issues experienced by our southern neighbours are certainly worth contemplating up here in Canada (and in the nut aisle of bulk food stores everywhere).
This Dutch film implicates pesticides as playing a significant role in the high bee mortality in the Netherlands and questions why the issue hasn't been taken seriously.
The film contrasts interviews with French scientist Prof. Jean-Marc Bonmatin who's research has led to pesticide bans in France against interviews with Dr. T. Blacquiere, the principal adviser to the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture who appears to have strong financial connections to Bayer, a pesticide producer.
In his book Laurence Packer provides a good overview of the complexity of the challenges all types of bees are currently facing, what this problem means for humans, and how we can help. The book is also intermixed with some fascinating tales from a life of chasing after bees around the world. Well worth the read.
A lecture on the different types of wild bees:
Here's a brief overview by Laurence on creating pollinator friendly backyards:
- Importance of pollination if not previously discussed or bees and co-operation(it’s a co-operative game).
- Explain they are going to play a murder mystery game. A beekeeper named Billy has lost all his bees and that they will each receive a character card. They will take on the role of this character and talk to each other to discover what happened to the bees.
Hand out game cards: 5 minutes
- There are 16 game cards.
- The first page of 8 game cards should be enough to play the game if it is a smaller group.
- If you make two sets of cards, larger groups can be split into teams and compete to solve the mystery first.
- Each person should get one card. Give them a minute or two to get familiar with their character.
Playing the game: 15 minutes
They will then be asked to work as a group, sharing information with each other to try and solve the mystery.
Conclusion: 5 minutes
Have the students explain their conclusions. Let them know it’s a real phenomenon called CCD and discuss any questions the game raises.
Groups using the full set of characters should be able to identify stress of transportation on bees, pest/diseases, queen genetics and poor nutrition for bees on mono-crop farms, and pesticide use as contributing factors.
To the Toronto Beekeeper’s Co-op for all I’ve learned with them, Dave Barr for writing the simplified version of the text, Melissa Berney for editing the texts, and all the photographers who made their photo’s available for me to use via a Creative Commons license (see game file for details).
4) Game text of kids version - Use this if you would like to translate the game into another language. I will make new graphic game cards from translated text.
The Honey Bee Murder Mystery Game is published under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0. You are free to copy and distribute this work for non-commercial purposes as long as you attribute it to: Shawn Caza of http://www.beekeeping.isgood.ca