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What’s killing the bees? After reading The Beekeeper’s Lament

—Hannah Nordhaus’ lyrical, haunting book about the complicated lives and deaths of America’s honeybees—my question has shifted more towards, “Good lord, what doesn’t kill bees?”

Domesticated bees turn out to be some amazingly fragile creatures. In fact, Nordhaus writes, bees were delicate even before the modern age of industrial farming. It wasn’t until the second half of the 19th century that humans were able to reliably domesticate bees. Even then, beekeeping was anything but a stable business to be in. But in the last decade, the job has gotten harder, and the bee deaths have piled up faster. Bees are killed by moths and mites, bacteria and viruses, heat and cold. They’re killed by the pesticides used on the plants they pollinate, and by the other pesticides used to protect them from murderous insects. And they’re killed by the almond crop, which draws millions of bees from all over the nation to one small region of California, where they join in an orgy of pollination and another of disease sharing.

Read the complete book review here: The Beekeeper’s Lament: Must-read book on bee life, and death — Boing Boing