WATCH | How a couple is rescuing bees from a sticky fate in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, bees are the victims of misunderstanding. Handling swarms and hives is complicated, and few people know how to do it.

So when bees take up residence in and around homes, citizens call the fire department to remove them, or destroy the bees themselves with fire and poison.

Hundreds of hives have been wrecked in recent years. This takes a significant toll on the health of the ecosystem.

But the belief that bees are harmful pests is being undone by apiarist duo Carlos Cortes and Liz Paniagua.

“Since I was a little kid, the bee was one of my favourite insects,” Cortes says. He and Paniagua are determined to sweeten the image of the bee in their country.

Cortes founded Api-Agricultura, an organisation working to rescue bees in Costa Rica.

“The bees were being killed and nobody was protecting them,” Paniagua says.

Through their initiative, Cortes and Paniagua save bees from destruction and educate their community about the crucial role that bees play in supporting life on Earth.

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Cortes and Paniagua also focus their efforts on cultivating a love for bees in kids. The couple establish gardens in school yards and set up hives of stingless bees.

This gives children the opportunity to learn about growing produce and how bees pollinate plants.

“The new generation is the one we need to teach,” Cortes says.

By redirecting a country’s approach to these indispensable insects, millions of bees will be saved.

Footage by Rainforest Alliance was used in the creation of this film.