Where Did All the Bees Go?


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Honeybees pollinate diverse crops such as apples, blueberries, almonds, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and hundreds of other fruits and vegetables that make up one-third of the food on our table. Millions of beehives worldwide have emptied out as honeybees mysteriously disappear. The question is, “Will we be able to eat any fruits and vegetables ten years from now?” 

Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. Beekeepers in the United States have lost about 30 percent of their bees each year, over the past five years.

Dave Hackenberg makes a living by moving his beehives from field to field to pollinate diverse crops such as Florida melons, Pennsylvania apples, Maine blueberries, California almonds, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and hundreds of other fruits and vegetables that make up one-third of the food on our tables. Hackenberg trucks his honeybees up and down the East Coast and often coast to coast.

In the fall of 2006, as he had done for more than 42 years, Hackenberg migrated his bees from their central Pennsylvania summer home to their winter locale in central Florida. Initially, when he checked on his pollinators, the colonies were “boiling over” with bees. However, a month later, a thunderstruck Hackenberg noticed that more than half of the 3,000 hives completely devoid of bees.  Many of the remaining colonies had lost large numbers of worker bees, and only the young workers and the queen remained and seemed healthy. However, no dead bees were in sight.

In 2009, George Langworthy, Maryam Henein produced a documentary “Vanishing of the Bees.” This follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S.

The documentary centers around the sudden disappearance of honeybees from beehives around the world, caused by the poorly understood phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. This documentary takes a piercing investigative look at the economic, political and ecological implications of the global disappearance of the honeybee. It looks at farming landscape and celebrates the age-old and sacred association between man and the honeybee. The “Vanishing of the Bees” unfolds a stirring tale of science and mystery. It highlights this extraordinary crisis and its greater meaning regarding the association between human beings and Mother Earth.

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