For the fourth year in a row, about a third of honeybee hives in the United States died off during the past winter, succumbing to Colony Collapse Disorder.
So when beekeeper Keith Roberts comes across a thriving nest of feral bees, his company views it as an opportunity to replenish the dwindling populations of commercial honeybees.
The city of Santa Monica is currently re-evaluating its longstanding policy of exterminating swarms of bees and a law prohibiting the keeping of bees within city limits may be overturned.
Local advocates have urged the city to capture the swarms, re-house them in temporary hives on city land, and then transport them to agricultural areas in California where the bees are needed by farmers to pollinate crops.
“They’re extremely healthy bees, strong producers and obviously very resistant to the varroa mites and the pathogens that are wiping out our bees across the country,” says Mr Roberts. “These bees might very well hold the key to healthier bees in the general.”
(READ MORE of the story from the BBC)