People need bees. Since the first wasp got a taste for pollen 125 million years ago, bees and flowers have co-evolved in a way that brings almonds and apricots to our tables. But honeybees, as well as the less well known but equally critical miner, leafcutter, sweat and mason bees are in trouble, getting slammed by climate change, habitat loss and pesticide use. To figure out how to protect them, biologist Thor Hanson studies them. He is author of the new book, “Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees.” He came to The Summit on Pike for Town Hall Wednesday, September 26, 2018.
If you want to flit around this interview, here are a few stopping points.
7:56: How Hanson came to his passion for studying bees.
13:15: The evolution of bees.
17:47: The story of the Honey Guide, an African bird that guides humans and other creatures to bee hives and how consuming honey may have fueled our evolution.
23:38: Science in our ignorant age.
27:20: What bees visit shorelines?
32:55: How farmers create a native alkali bee habitat to increase alfalfa production in Touchet, Washington.
36:50: Deconstructing the Big Mac to show how dependent we are on foods that bees pollinate.
40:40: Climate change and colony collapse disorder. Basically, monocultures and habitat loss leave bees without enough food. Think orcas.
49:10: Why is the sweat bee called a sweat bee?
50:40: Do honeybees outcompete native bees? Short answer, sometimes.