Noah Wilson-Rich starts his June 2018 Ted Talk with some startling statistics: in 2017 we lost 40% of our beehives in the United States, and in places with harsher climates that number was even higher. For example, in Massachusetts we lost 47% of our beehives. “Can you imagine if we lost half or our people last year?” he asks. “And if those were the food producing people? It’s untenable!”
Noah is interested in where are bees healthy and thriving. To find out, he recruited citizen scientists across the US to set up beehives in their backyards, gardens and rooftops. The data they gathered indicates that that city bees are the healthiest. It’s not because there are fewer bee-killing chemicals, because there are actually more. And it’s not because there are fewer diseases. It seems to be all about cities providing the best bee habitat.
In his 12:54 talk, Noah gives us a good look at how citizen science works, the “Ah-Ha” moment that changed the direction of their research, and how honey DNA testing can help us create the habitat that bees love most.
Here’s the transcript of Noah’s talk. Visit the Urban Bee Laboratory and Bee Sanctuary to learn more about their work.