They are the winged insects that prompt both fear and fascination, and one South Florida woman’s passion for bees is both infectious and important. Kevin Ozebek has her story in today’s 7 Spotlight.

This Miami backyard is always buzzing with activity.

It’s also where the woman wearing the “queen bee” shirt feels most at home — because it is her home — along with thousands of her flying friends.

Melissa Sorokin, beekeeper: “My best description for me would have to be bee advocate.”

Melissa Sorokin has always loved rescuing animals.

She used to work for Miami-Dade Animal Services and drove dogs across the country to find them new homes.

Then, about six years ago…

Melissa Sorokin: “My friend Debbie, she said, ‘Melissa, your name means Bee Goddess.’ She’s like, ‘Yeah, it means honey bee in Greek.'”

After some initial resistance, a beekeeper was born.

Melissa Sorokin: “I didn’t know bupkis about bees. Nothing.”

Now, Melissa knows a lot about bees.

Melissa Sorokin: “And so, now, I teach beekeeping, like, I have apprentices.”

After gearing up…

Kevin Ozebek: “All right, suited up.”

We were ready for our own, up-close-and-personal lesson.

Kevin Ozebek: “How many times have you been stung in your life, Melissa?”

Melissa Sorokin: “Oh, it’s countless.”

Kevin Ozebek: “Whoa, pure honey.”

Melissa Sorokin: “Pure honey, honey right there.”

Kevin Ozebek: “That’s all honey. This is their food, too?”

Melissa Sorokin: “This is their food.”

Kevin Ozebek: “While these may be thousands of stinging little pests to you, these bees are actually vital to keep us alive. About a third of the food we eat is pollinated by bees.”

Melissa Sorokin: “And if bees collapse, then our food collapses.”

U.S. beekeepers lost an estimated 39% of their colonies between April 2021 and 2022.

Among the reasons bees are dying: pesticides, climate change, habitat destruction and disease.

Kevin Ozebek: “Are we at serious risk of losing bees?”

Melissa Sorokin: “Yes. Yes, absolutely.”

To do her part, Melissa has built a business removing and relocating bee colonies.

She never exterminates them.

We were there when she removed a hive from an overhang of this Miami roof.

Melissa has been called to come pick up bees from some strange places — like a ceramic donkey in Miami Springs, and speaking of funny…

Melissa Sorokin: “I did like a 16-second video of this bee letting it rip because she was pooping on top of the hive.”

The short video of the bee bathroom break went viral on social media. It has been played more than 31 million times.

Melissa Sorokin: “This bee has pooped all across the world.”

But back to more serious business, she leaves us with this…

Melissa Sorokin: “They serve a massive purpose for us.”

Kevin Ozebek: “I think your love of them is actually contagious, Melissa.”

Melissa Sorokin: “Like I want it to be. I want everyone to get a contagious love for bees.”

Well Melissa, mission accomplished.

Kevin Ozebek, 7News.

Beekeeper Melissa Sorokin’s Instagram page:

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