Cat People are Smart; Dog People are Loyal… What are Bee People Like?

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There are cat people and dog people and the weirdos who insist that they like both equally. And then there are the special breed of folks who are bee people.

If cat people are elegant and intellectual, and dog people are slobbery and gullible (perhaps you can tell what side of the divide I fall on?), what are bee people like? Judging from a few Hopkins researchers who have embarked on a beekeeping project at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, they tend to be meticulous, enthusiastic, and fond of experiments.

This particular endeavor isn’t about the honey–that just sweetens the deal (sorry, couldn’t resist). Instead, it’s an attempt to keep a hive of bees alive and thriving in the face of the mysterious colony collapse disorder that threatened bee populations nationwide. And what does all that have to do with public health?  Well, because bees are superstar pollinators, fewer bees means the food system as a whole is under threat; we all have an interest in keeping the bee population healthy, thriving, and full of nectar.

As long as all goes well, the 60,000 bees in the hive (give or take a few thousand) will produce about 100 pounds of honey in a year; 60% of it is consumed by the bees themselves, and 40% goes to the researchers. Of course, getting that honey requires some precise manipulations; no wonder, perhaps, that these scientists are drawn to them.



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