As a child, you likely ran away the second you saw a bee. And that’s because most of what kids know about bees is that they’re attracted to flowers — and they sting.

But bees are essential in our world, and their population has often been under threat. Most scientists think that the bee population has been dwindling due to pesticides and the loss of their natural habitat due to construction. That means that it’s on us to try to make sure bees are still thriving.

Erika the beekeeper is one of the many people focused on protecting the bee population. Some of her jobs include relocating the insects, managing the colonies, and providing educational opportunities. Prior to this year, she was a popular speaker, often educating others about the benefit of bees.

So why are they so important? Without them, the way our food looks would be much different. Bees pollinate approximately a third of our food supply. Honeybees are so important that many farmers rent them to further help out with their crops. Produce and other healthy foods depend on them to thrive. Can you imagine walking into a grocery store and seeing only cans and preserved foods for sale? It’s grim, but it could someday be a reality if we, as a planet, don’t protect them as much as we can.

Being a beekeeper seems like a rewarding career, especially for those who aren’t afraid of them. Listen to Erika explain more about her job, including the fascinating bee hierarchy.

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