Talia Ashuri and Shachar Horesh
Talia Ashuri and Shachar Horesh Yael Shavit Communications

Three Israeli teens have been chosen to represent Israel in an international Beekeeping Competition. The contest starts Monday in Prague.

The three – Shnir Ofir, 16, of Kibbutz Ein Harud, Shachar Horesh, 15, of Karkour, and Talia Ashuri, 15, of Moshav Tzerufa – will be tested on their general knowledge, their hands-on work with beehives and bees, and their ability to use the tools of their craft.

The three teens “are the children of old beekeeping families,” said Herzl Avidor, head of the Beekeepers Association and Honey Marketing Board. They join their parents in working as beekeepers between school and other activities.

Avidor expressed hope that the competition would help raise awareness of a serious ecological problem: an unusually high death rate among bees. “One-third of the world’s bee population has been wiped out… The bee is one of the major pollinators of agricultural plants, so the danger is very real, even if most of the public is unaware,” he said.

The scope and cause of mass bee colony collapse remains unclear, although deforestation, pollution, climate change and invading species have been named as possible culprits. Colony decline is particularly frequent in North America and western Europe.

Avidor said that in addition to raising awareness of the problems facing bees, the competition would also create a buzz among young Israelis regarding the profession of beekeeping.

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