It all began on the front porch of Claire Kimmel's house in Banner Elk, North Carolina. Kimmel has been a beekeeper in this Blue Ridge Mountain town for about six years. She keeps seven hives in her front yard.
One morning this past September, Kimmel's 6-year-old granddaughter was visiting for the day. The child was playing out on the front porch when she noticed something her grandparents had overlooked.
"Bean-daddy," she said to her grandfather, "why are there dead bees on the porch?"