Bees are dying. What can we do about it?
Social media is abuzz with photos of bees drinking sugar water from teaspoons, after a post on a fan page dedicated to British naturalist Sir David Attenborough drew attention to the dwindling population of bees worldwide.
Since 2013, bee populations in some parts of the world have fallen by a third, with phenomena ranging from the spread of the varroa mite to climate change identified for blame.
In Australia, researchers and authorities say local bee populations remain resilient, but in Europe, Asia, North America and even New Zealand, it is a different story.
In a widely-shared post on Facebook that has inspired hashtag #savethebees, the Attenborough fan page warned the disappearance of bees would spell the end of humanity within four years.
"If bees were to disappear from the face of the earth, humans would have just four years left to live," it said.
"If you find a tired bee in your home, a simple solution of sugar and water will help revive an exhausted bee.
"Simply mix two tablespoons of white, granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water, and place on a spoon for the bee to reach."
Plant plants, avoid pesticides
In Australia, amateur beekeepers say the suggestion about sugar water to help bees in distress is sound.
The best things Australians can do to support bees are to plant flowering plants in their gardens, and to support bee colonies when they are swarming in search of a hive, the Amateur Beekeepers Association's Nathan Organ told the ABC's daily podcast The Signal.
"The suburbs are a great place for bees, and that's where backyard gardeners are important, in terms of their use of pesticides and that sort of stuff," he told The Signal.
"If our urban gardens are pesticide free, then our urban honey will have fewer pesticides in it, and the bees will benefit.
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