Anna Maria turns to bees to help plants

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ANNA MARIA, Fla. - Bees around the world are dying from what scientists call colony collapse disorder. A recent study showed pesticides might be to blame. That's troublesome because bees are critically important to our eco-system -- a fact that's understood along Pine Avenue on Anna Maria Island.

The “greenest little street in America” is now home to over 300,000 bees. Honey bees to be exact. The eco-friendly Pine Avenue on Anna Maria Island transported the bees to help foster the edible garden boxes that line the avenue.

The boxes have been planted as an experiment to see if plants could survive in the intense Florida heat.

“It's worked spectacularly; you can see there's food jumping out of this box,” says Michael Coleman, the operating partner of the Pine Avenue Restoration Project. He says they noticed a few plants not performing well, and that's where the bee conversation took off.

“The bees are responsible for 85% of the crops that we eat. They're also responsible for the meat that we eat because the meat eats the crops right, all that sort of ties in.”

According to Coleman, if the bees die -- we die.

"In daylight they're foraging. At night they're tending to the hive, tending to the young and so forth and so on. They literally work themselves to death.”

And the bees are paying off. The edible food boxes are thriving throughout the community and now several homeowners are planting their own edible boxes. “People are growing their own food, they're not driving down the road to get greens. They're going out in their backyard to get greens.”

Individuals in the community are also now noticing the bees and asking how they can get some of their own. “We've already had interest from citizens who want to have their own hives in their own backyards,” says Coleman.

He hopes that by educating others, they will realize that the future of their own community's environment is in their hands. “Every box has a QR reader and web address that gives you all the information you need to know about the edible food box and how you can get involved.”

The bees cover a 1-3 mile radius.