Bees are disappearing all over our planet and no one knows why. Honeybees pollinate $15 billion worth of food in the US alone. They are nature’s best indicator for environmental quality. What if your grocery store looked like the bottom half of this picture? Are we going to be ok with other countries producing all of our fruits and vegetables?
In the eye-opening documentary, Vanishing of the Bees, by George Langworthy and Maryham Henein, we are forced to picture a hauntingly terrifying life without honeybees. Why are bees so important? For one, they pollinate approximately one third of all of the food we eat. Some of the many crops that depend on honeybee pollination include: apples, pears, raspberries, plums, cherries, carrots, and onions. Imagine your grocery store with none of these locally grown food products available.
Throughout the documentary we explore the subtle phenomenon which beekeepers call “colony collapse disorder” or CCD? What exactly is CCD? This term is used to refer to the mass die off of bee colonies around the world. Hives with CCD show symptoms such as worker bees abandoning their hive, which is extremely unnatural, and also lack of attack by other predators such as wasps.
Although no one can say for certain what is causing this awful calamity, many have agreed that decades of exploiting hives may be one reason for CCD. Many commercial beekeepers will feed their bees sugar-extract or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) after taking the honey from away from the bees. From a financial standpoint they can make more money selling the honey and buying artificial sweeteners but this money driven decision has made the bees weaker to pesticides and other chemicals they are exposed to. People may argue that sugar is sugar and that it is the same thing to the bees as honey but this isn’t true. HFCS has a different PH and it lacks the enzymes that bees receive from their natural honey.
Many people might not realize that when you feed the bees HFCS they store it in the same cells that their nectar gets store in mixing it with their honey. So when you buy honey from many suppliers you’re getting a mixture of honey and HFCS even if the label says “pure honey”. HFCS is claimed to be toxic to bees as well as to humans.
The only beekeepers that will thrive in this industry are those that seek sustainable approaches to producing honey, approaches that respect the bees needs creating a market for clean and natural honey.
What can you do?
Write your congressmen and vote with your fork, choose organic and local, plant your own garden with plants that benefit insects such as bees, stop spraying your plants, get to know your local honey producers, and help save the bees!