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Why Honeybees Are Dying, Explained In Just 6 Minutes

Haven’t been following the bee-pocalypse saga? Get a quick, fun explainer of how the world is going to hell. You have six minutes for that, right?

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After tens of thousands of studies about why honeybees are disappearing, researchers still don’t know exactly why it’s happening–but they have a better idea. A short new animated video, complete with cartoon bees, lays out the basics of the current science.

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One problem is the tiny varroa mite, which attacks and weakens baby bees in the hive and spreads disease. New insecticides–used on the majority of crops in the U.S.–are probably an even bigger problem for bees. And both of these issues are made worse by general , like a bad diet as bees are trucked from farm to farm feeding on flowers from a single crop at a time.

Without bees, as the video points out, we’d lose one in three bites in food, since bees pollinate everything from apples to crops used for cattle feed. But the video doesn’t talk about potential solutions: Many experts argue that neonicotinoid pesticides should be banned, as they have been in Europe. In the meantime, consumers can try to buy organic and build mini wildlife refuges for bees in their backyards.

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About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley, and contributed to the second edition of the bestselling book "Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century."

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