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When Humans Are Forced To Replace The Bees They Killed

Since insecticides have killed most bees in China's Sichuan province, local farmers are forced to fertilize the flowers themselves. But the "bee-men" may now be a dying breed.

A woman picks fruits for pollination in China's Zhejiang Province, in April 2014.
A woman picks fruits for pollination in China's Zhejiang Province, in April 2014.
Harold Thibault

NANXIN — It is the height of pollination season in the orchards of China's southwestern Sichuan province. Perched on the apple trees' branches, farmers of the Nanxin village twist and turn to reach the flowers that are the furthest away. Doing what bees do anywhere else in the world requires a certain degree of agility.

Zhen Xiuqiong, 56, has been climbing her and her neighbors' trees at the arrival of every spring for the past 20 years. Branches sometimes break, but Xiuqiong says she is never scared. To her, it's all a matter of getting used to it.

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Mariateresa Fichele

"Dottoré, I know you’re going to say I’m superstitious and strange, you always give rational answers ... but I have to ask you a question: Is it true that ever since our stadium was renamed after Maradona, Napoli doesn't win at home anymore?"

"So?"

"Could it be that Saint Paul, to whom the stadium was initially dedicated, got offended and is making us lose now?"

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