full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Emma Bryce: The case of the vanishing honeybees

Unscramble the Blue Letters

There is an environmental mystery afoot, and it begins with a seemingly trivial deital that rveelas a disaster of global proportions. One day, you notice that the honey you slather on your morning toast is more expensive. Instead of switching to jam, you istganveite the reason for the price hike. What you find is shocking. The number of domesticated honeybees in the US has been decreasing at an alarming rate. This decline appears too big to be explained by the usual causes of bee death alone: disease, pesiartas or stivarotan. A typical crime scene has almost no auldt bees left in the hive, except, perhaps, a lonely queen and a few other survivors. It's full of untouched food stores and a brood of unborn lvraae, sgnisgetug that the adults vacated without waiting for them to hatch. But what's particularly eerie is that there's no tell-tale mass of dead or dying bees nearby. Either they have forgotten their way back to the hive, or they have simply disappeared. These misotyures disappearances aren't new. Humans have been collecting honey for centuries. But it wasn't until European settlers in the 1600's introduced the subspecies, Apis mellifera, that we doetsacmietd bees. Since the 19th century, beekeepers have reported oiascconal mass disappearances, giving them egintimac names like disappearing disease, spring dwindle dassiee and autumn collapse. But when in 2006 such losses were found to affect more than half of all hives in the US, the phenomenon got a new name: conoly cplasole dsoriedr. The most frightening thing about this mystery isn't that we'll have to go back to using rleuagr sugar in our tea. We farm bees for their honey, but they also pollinate our crops on an industrial scale, generating over 1/3 of America's food production this way. So, how can we find the curilpt behind this calamity? Here are three of the possible offenders. Exhibit A: Pests and Disease. Most infamous is the varroa mite, a minuscule red pest that not only invades colonies and feeds on bees, but also transfers pnethoags that stunt bee growth and shortens their life span. Exhibit B: gctneeis. The queen is the core of a healthy hive. But nowadays, the millions of queen bees distributed in cmemaroicl hives are bred from just a few original queens, which raseis the worry about a lack of genetic diversity which could weaken bees' defenses against pathogens and pests. Exhibit C: caemcilhs. Pesticides used both on commercial bveiehes and agricultural cpros to ward off parasites could be getting into the food and water that honeybees cumonse. Researchers have even found that some pesticides damage the honeybees' homing abilities. So we have a file full of clues but no celar leads. In reality, scientists, the atucal detectives on this case, face disagreement over what causes colony collapse disorder. For now, we assume that several focatrs are the cause. Honeybees aren't necessarily in danger of eoinxittcn, but fewer bees overall mnaes less pollination and higher food costs, so it's crucial that sintcestis sovle the case of the vanishing bees. Because while having less honey might be a buzzkill, crop shortages are something that would truly sting.

Open Cloze

There is an environmental mystery afoot, and it begins with a seemingly trivial ______ that _______ a disaster of global proportions. One day, you notice that the honey you slather on your morning toast is more expensive. Instead of switching to jam, you ___________ the reason for the price hike. What you find is shocking. The number of domesticated honeybees in the US has been decreasing at an alarming rate. This decline appears too big to be explained by the usual causes of bee death alone: disease, _________ or __________. A typical crime scene has almost no _____ bees left in the hive, except, perhaps, a lonely queen and a few other survivors. It's full of untouched food stores and a brood of unborn ______, __________ that the adults vacated without waiting for them to hatch. But what's particularly eerie is that there's no tell-tale mass of dead or dying bees nearby. Either they have forgotten their way back to the hive, or they have simply disappeared. These __________ disappearances aren't new. Humans have been collecting honey for centuries. But it wasn't until European settlers in the 1600's introduced the subspecies, Apis mellifera, that we ____________ bees. Since the 19th century, beekeepers have reported __________ mass disappearances, giving them _________ names like disappearing disease, spring dwindle _______ and autumn collapse. But when in 2006 such losses were found to affect more than half of all hives in the US, the phenomenon got a new name: ______ ________ ________. The most frightening thing about this mystery isn't that we'll have to go back to using _______ sugar in our tea. We farm bees for their honey, but they also pollinate our crops on an industrial scale, generating over 1/3 of America's food production this way. So, how can we find the _______ behind this calamity? Here are three of the possible offenders. Exhibit A: Pests and Disease. Most infamous is the varroa mite, a minuscule red pest that not only invades colonies and feeds on bees, but also transfers _________ that stunt bee growth and shortens their life span. Exhibit B: ________. The queen is the core of a healthy hive. But nowadays, the millions of queen bees distributed in __________ hives are bred from just a few original queens, which ______ the worry about a lack of genetic diversity which could weaken bees' defenses against pathogens and pests. Exhibit C: _________. Pesticides used both on commercial ________ and agricultural _____ to ward off parasites could be getting into the food and water that honeybees _______. Researchers have even found that some pesticides damage the honeybees' homing abilities. So we have a file full of clues but no _____ leads. In reality, scientists, the ______ detectives on this case, face disagreement over what causes colony collapse disorder. For now, we assume that several _______ are the cause. Honeybees aren't necessarily in danger of __________, but fewer bees overall _____ less pollination and higher food costs, so it's crucial that __________ _____ the case of the vanishing bees. Because while having less honey might be a buzzkill, crop shortages are something that would truly sting.

Solution

  1. culprit
  2. parasites
  3. pathogens
  4. solve
  5. actual
  6. crops
  7. clear
  8. disorder
  9. occasional
  10. means
  11. collapse
  12. raises
  13. larvae
  14. extinction
  15. colony
  16. disease
  17. commercial
  18. starvation
  19. detail
  20. domesticated
  21. enigmatic
  22. scientists
  23. factors
  24. genetics
  25. chemicals
  26. adult
  27. investigate
  28. reveals
  29. regular
  30. consume
  31. beehives
  32. mysterious
  33. suggesting

Original Text

There is an environmental mystery afoot, and it begins with a seemingly trivial detail that reveals a disaster of global proportions. One day, you notice that the honey you slather on your morning toast is more expensive. Instead of switching to jam, you investigate the reason for the price hike. What you find is shocking. The number of domesticated honeybees in the US has been decreasing at an alarming rate. This decline appears too big to be explained by the usual causes of bee death alone: disease, parasites or starvation. A typical crime scene has almost no adult bees left in the hive, except, perhaps, a lonely queen and a few other survivors. It's full of untouched food stores and a brood of unborn larvae, suggesting that the adults vacated without waiting for them to hatch. But what's particularly eerie is that there's no tell-tale mass of dead or dying bees nearby. Either they have forgotten their way back to the hive, or they have simply disappeared. These mysterious disappearances aren't new. Humans have been collecting honey for centuries. But it wasn't until European settlers in the 1600's introduced the subspecies, Apis mellifera, that we domesticated bees. Since the 19th century, beekeepers have reported occasional mass disappearances, giving them enigmatic names like disappearing disease, spring dwindle disease and autumn collapse. But when in 2006 such losses were found to affect more than half of all hives in the US, the phenomenon got a new name: colony collapse disorder. The most frightening thing about this mystery isn't that we'll have to go back to using regular sugar in our tea. We farm bees for their honey, but they also pollinate our crops on an industrial scale, generating over 1/3 of America's food production this way. So, how can we find the culprit behind this calamity? Here are three of the possible offenders. Exhibit A: Pests and Disease. Most infamous is the varroa mite, a minuscule red pest that not only invades colonies and feeds on bees, but also transfers pathogens that stunt bee growth and shortens their life span. Exhibit B: Genetics. The queen is the core of a healthy hive. But nowadays, the millions of queen bees distributed in commercial hives are bred from just a few original queens, which raises the worry about a lack of genetic diversity which could weaken bees' defenses against pathogens and pests. Exhibit C: Chemicals. Pesticides used both on commercial beehives and agricultural crops to ward off parasites could be getting into the food and water that honeybees consume. Researchers have even found that some pesticides damage the honeybees' homing abilities. So we have a file full of clues but no clear leads. In reality, scientists, the actual detectives on this case, face disagreement over what causes colony collapse disorder. For now, we assume that several factors are the cause. Honeybees aren't necessarily in danger of extinction, but fewer bees overall means less pollination and higher food costs, so it's crucial that scientists solve the case of the vanishing bees. Because while having less honey might be a buzzkill, crop shortages are something that would truly sting.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
colony collapse 2
collapse disorder 2

ngrams of length 3

collocation frequency
colony collapse disorder 2

Important Words

  1. abilities
  2. actual
  3. adult
  4. adults
  5. affect
  6. afoot
  7. agricultural
  8. alarming
  9. apis
  10. appears
  11. assume
  12. autumn
  13. bee
  14. beehives
  15. beekeepers
  16. bees
  17. begins
  18. big
  19. bred
  20. brood
  21. buzzkill
  22. calamity
  23. case
  24. centuries
  25. century
  26. chemicals
  27. clear
  28. clues
  29. collapse
  30. collecting
  31. colonies
  32. colony
  33. commercial
  34. consume
  35. core
  36. costs
  37. crime
  38. crop
  39. crops
  40. crucial
  41. culprit
  42. damage
  43. danger
  44. day
  45. dead
  46. death
  47. decline
  48. decreasing
  49. defenses
  50. detail
  51. detectives
  52. disagreement
  53. disappearances
  54. disappeared
  55. disappearing
  56. disaster
  57. disease
  58. disorder
  59. distributed
  60. diversity
  61. domesticated
  62. dwindle
  63. dying
  64. eerie
  65. enigmatic
  66. environmental
  67. european
  68. exhibit
  69. expensive
  70. explained
  71. extinction
  72. face
  73. factors
  74. farm
  75. feeds
  76. file
  77. find
  78. food
  79. forgotten
  80. frightening
  81. full
  82. generating
  83. genetic
  84. genetics
  85. giving
  86. global
  87. growth
  88. hatch
  89. healthy
  90. higher
  91. hike
  92. hive
  93. hives
  94. homing
  95. honey
  96. honeybees
  97. humans
  98. industrial
  99. infamous
  100. introduced
  101. invades
  102. investigate
  103. jam
  104. lack
  105. larvae
  106. leads
  107. left
  108. life
  109. lonely
  110. losses
  111. mass
  112. means
  113. mellifera
  114. millions
  115. minuscule
  116. mite
  117. morning
  118. mysterious
  119. mystery
  120. names
  121. nearby
  122. necessarily
  123. notice
  124. nowadays
  125. number
  126. occasional
  127. offenders
  128. original
  129. parasites
  130. pathogens
  131. pest
  132. pesticides
  133. pests
  134. phenomenon
  135. pollinate
  136. pollination
  137. price
  138. production
  139. proportions
  140. queen
  141. queens
  142. raises
  143. rate
  144. reality
  145. reason
  146. red
  147. regular
  148. reported
  149. researchers
  150. reveals
  151. scale
  152. scene
  153. scientists
  154. seemingly
  155. settlers
  156. shocking
  157. shortages
  158. shortens
  159. simply
  160. slather
  161. solve
  162. span
  163. spring
  164. starvation
  165. sting
  166. stores
  167. stunt
  168. subspecies
  169. sugar
  170. suggesting
  171. survivors
  172. switching
  173. tea
  174. toast
  175. transfers
  176. trivial
  177. typical
  178. unborn
  179. untouched
  180. usual
  181. vacated
  182. vanishing
  183. varroa
  184. waiting
  185. ward
  186. water
  187. weaken
  188. worry