Bees perform about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide, so colony collapse disorder — the mass of bee deaths linked to pesticides — is no small matter.
But one man thinks we should treat this big problem on a much smaller scale.
That's why Italian designer Hady Ghassabian created the Bee Saver, a key chain that holds a tiny bioplastic container of artificial nectar.
When a person encounters a bee in need, they simply set the Bee Saver beside the insect and wait for it to take a sip.
"Often I run into bees collapsed as if they were dead," Ghassabian told Fast Company. "I had read that many of these bees are not really dead, and with a bit of water and sugar they can be reinvigorated, but I did not give much thought to the issue until a trip to the park with my little brother when we found a bee on the ground. I gave some fruit juice to the bee and ... the bee began to fly."
Ghassabian designed the Bee Saver to be flower-shaped, sweet-smelling and brightly colored so it would attract bees, and he worked with beekeepers to select an artificial nectar that would provide weary bees with the nutrients they need.
Although the product isn't a solution to colony collapse disorder, Ghassabian believes it could inspire people to think big and act small.
"If everyone would feel responsible and ready at every opportunity to save any bees in need, surely we would feel more involved and try to help them in any other circumstance," he said.
The Bee Saver is currently only a functional prototype, but Ghassabian plans to launch a crowd-funding campaign to produce the bee-rescuing key chains.
Check out some other ways you can help save our disappearing bees.
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Inset photo: Hady Ghassabian