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A Bee's Life

Anand Varma: A thrilling look at the first 21 days of a bee’s life


We’ve heard that bees are disappearing. But what is making bee colonies so vulnerable? Photographer Anand Varma raised bees in his backyard — in front of a camera — to get an up close view. This project, for the May 2015 issue of National Geographic Magazine, gives a lyrical glimpse into a bee hive — and reveals one of the biggest threats to its health, a mite that preys on baby bees in the first 21 days of life. With his incredible footage, set to music from Magik*Magik Orchestra, Varma shows the problem ... and what’s being done to solve it.

Anand Varma's photos tell the story behind the science on everything from primate behavior and hummingbird biomechanics to amphibian disease and forest ecology.

Anand Varma is a freelance photographer and videographer who started photographing natural history subjects while studying biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He spent several years assisting David Liittschwager before receiving a National Geographic Young Explorer grant to document the wetlands of Patagonia.

Varma has since become a regular contributor to National Geographic. His first feature story, called “Mindsuckers,” was published on the November 2014 cover of the magazine. This incredible look at parasites won Varma the World Press Photo's first prize in the nature category in 2015.

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