(Times of Israel) Just off rumbling Route 44 in central Israel, smack in the shadow of Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center, sits Tzrifin Farm, a pocket of greenery managed by the Ministry of Agriculture. And it is here that Victoria Soroker, an entomologist and one of Israel’s leading researchers on bees, can be found counting pupae.

It’s hottest June, and the white protective masks and jumpsuits worn by Soroker and her crew aren’t helping. But despite the sweat, the glare and the constant buzz of hundreds of agitated bees, Soroker and her team are calmly piercing every tenth pupae in their hives, a method, they say, that will lead to insight into the hygiene of the bees and thus the state of their health.

She has reason to be taking her work so seriously. Since 2007, bees across the world have been mysteriously dying out, with losses most severe in the United States but also ravaging the bee populations in Europe and the Middle East.

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