Where the Wild Bees Are: Documenting a Loss of Native Bee Species between the 1800s and 2010s | Scientific American

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.




BBC Radio 4 - On the Trail of the American Honeybee

Crate where bees once livedPhoto by: bbcworldservice / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial License

Documentary looking at migratory beekeeping in the USA from the california almond mega-monocultures and beyond.

Almond orchardPhoto by: bbcworldservice / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial License

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).


Zembla - Murder of the Honeybee

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.


Keeping the Bees: Why All Bees Are at Risk and What We Can Do to Save Them by Laurence Packer

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:

As a beekeeper I often have the opportunity to speak to people about why bees are dying or colony collapse disorder (CCD). In response I’ve developed the Honey Bee Murder Mystery Game.

bee mystery - preview page 1

We've put together two versions for different age groups. Choose the one you would like to download here:

1) For kids (pdf 4.9M).

2) For teens - adults (pdf 5.3M).

3) See the bottom of this page if you want source files or other variations of the above.

Here is a sample game card from the two different versions:

sample of different versions

Watch a slide show of all the cards here.

Age: 10-adult. Time: 30 minutes.

Intro ideas: 5 minutes

- 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.

bee mystery - preview page 2


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.

Related resources

More than Honey (FIlm)

Queen of the Sun (FIlm)

5 Things Kids Can Do to Help Pollinators

What You Can Do For Pollinators

Get the Buzz on Honey Bees (Various elementary lesson plans from scholastic)

Understanding the Science: the Impact of Imidacloprid on Bees (web page)

Killing Bees: Are Government and Industry Responsible? (online video)


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).

Other Versions

1) The teen-adult version with solid white behind the text (pdf 4.8M). - This might help those having trouble getting readable photocopies.

2) This version has no text on the game cards (pdf 3.8M). - Use this if you'd like to write your own text.

3) This is the ziped PSD file (zip 58M). - Use this if you want to use photoshop to edit the game cards.

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