Lex Pryor takes into the world of two professional bee keepers to explain the critical role that bees have in the foods we put on our table and the parasites, diseases, and farming practices that are decimating their populations, putting our food chain at risk.

There is a bee twiddling its legs on the moonlit dashboard of Bill Crawford’s pickup. I tell him we’ve got a straggler before it crawls under a stack of stained papers. There are roughly 4 million more in the back. He is not even slightly concerned.

“There’s probably bees all over. Inside the truck, outside the truck,” he says, eyes scanning the dim country road ahead. “You’re just as liable to get stung in here as you are outside.”

Crawford is a bee man. More than once, he refers to what we’re doing—driving a load of 80 honeybee colonies from western Massachusetts to a wild blueberry farm in central New Hampshire—as “haulin’ bees.” He is active behind the wheel, but he is not gung-ho. When the road bends, he slows down. On the highway he drives the speed limit.