It’s a Thursday night in Mexico City, Mexico. Adriana Velíz lies on the ground near a street lamp. She pries open the light pole with a knife. She shines a red lantern into the hole.
Inside, 20,000 bees hum in their hive. Ms. Velíz is here to rescue them.
Worldwide, bee populations have plummeted. Many people blame humans. Building projects destroy bee habitats. Farmers use bee-killing chemicals to protect crops.
Bees are pollinators. The pollen they spread helps plants produce food. Without bees, the world goes hungry.
In 2018, Ms. Velíz worked as a veterinarian for Mexico City. Mexico’s bees create problems in big cities. They are more aggressive than common honeybees. Nobody wants to get stung while walking to work!
Authorities received complaints about beehives. Their response was always the same: Kill the bees.
Ms. Velíz knew there was a better way. That’s how Abeja Negra SOS began. (Abeja Negra is Spanish for “black bee.”)
People call this group for help removing beehives. These insect experts don’t kill bees. They find new homes for them. They have relocated about 510 hives.
To move the bees, bee handlers must first move the queen. The rest will follow. How do they know they’ve moved the queen? They listen. Without their queen, the bees buzz wildly. If the queen is there, they calm down.
Bee movers place the bees in wooden boxes and take them out of the city. Sometimes they donate them to bee farmers. Sometimes they release them into the wild.
Not everyone can afford the group’s services. Moving a hive costs over $300. But Ms. Velíz believes they can still make a difference.
“We may not be changing the world,” she says. “But we’re at least changing the situation in our city.”
Why? We can’t all change the world. But we can do our part to help in smaller ways. Saving the world’s pollinators is something that benefits everyone.