Stories Lived

Bee Population Decline: Bees and Climate Change **Past Jury Winner**

One solution to curb the bee population decline? Harvest bees on rooftops of buildings in the city.  Leigh-Kathryn Bonner is a third generation beekeeper and the founder of Bee Downtown.

Bonner, while working at the American Tobacco Company campus, convinced management to let her place a hive on the rooftop.  With Burt’s Bees headquartered there as well, the fit was natural.  Now there are over 100,000 honey bees on the rooftop of the campus.

Bonner, a native of Raleigh, NC, but with roots in agriculture in Eastern North Carolina, says beekeeping is in her blood, with her grandfather, uncle, and cousin all being beekeepers.

Bee Population Decline

Everyone’s third bite of food is thanks to a honey bee. Honey bees actually contribute 153 billion dollars to the world’s economy.  Bonner notes, “In 2012 US bee keepers lost fifty percent of their honey bee populations. It hurts to see that happen because you’re attached to them and you want them to do well. It breaks my heart. Our world is changing and it’s our responsibility to protect it, and we’re not doing a very good job of that…..The bees aren’t getting as much nectar throughout the shortened springs. You know, flowers aren’t blooming when it’s 110 degrees outside, there’s no nectar there’s no food for the bees. The changing climates and the shortening seasons. It throws honey bees off and a lot of that is due to climate change.”


About the Filmmaker
Submitted by Climate Stories NC

Climate Stories NC seeks to capture the voices of North Carolinians whose lives have been affected by changes in the climate.  The voices featured here include those of farmers, beekeepers, fisherman, hunters, apple growers and others.

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