This short documentary considers how desperate beekeepers are trying to keep their hives alive.

"I spent $110,000 trying to feed my bees a supplement to keep them alive," says beekeeper David Bradshaw. "Unfortunately, every beekeeper I know has to artificially sustain their bees. There is just not enough forage in California." In this documentary, filmmaker Brian Dawson suggests that California's historic drought may play a role in the region's massive shortage of honeybees. Without arable land, increasingly desperate beekeepers turn to artificial diets to keep their hives alive. According to a Penn State study, similar diets may effect a honeybee's resistance to pesticides—and pesticides are cited by the USDA as one of the possible causes of a mysterious bee die-off known as Colony Collapse Disorder.

"Next year, I'll probably end up sending my bees to Kansas or North Dakota or South Dakota because the bees just can't survive out here," Bradshaw says. "I can't afford to keep feeding my bees all year long."

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    The Sensory City Philosopher

    Architect, engineer, and inventor Carlo Ratti envisions a future for urban design that's interactive.

  2. Equity

    What Cities Do Right to Integrate Immigrants, in 4 Charts

    A sociologist interviewed hundreds of immigrants in New York, Barcelona, and Paris. Here's what he says those cities get right—and do wrong—when integrating foreign-born residents.

  3. An illustration shows two alleys in Detroit.
    Design

    Finding the Untapped Potential of Alleys

    “We’re starting to realize they’re just as powerful as a park or plaza.”

  4. A neon sign spells out "66" on historic Route 66.
    Life

    Get Your Kicks Biking Route 66

    Cyclists are now rolling on U.S. Bike Route 66 in Missouri and Kansas, the first stretch of a route planned for the whole length of the historic 2,400-mile highway.

  5. A man bikes down a busy London street with a food-delivery box on the back of his bike.
    Equity

    The Rise of ‘Urban Tech’

    From food-delivery startups to mapping and co-living companies, technology focused on urban systems is drawing billions of dollars in venture capital.