Long Live the Queen!

There are around 200,000 different species of pollinators on earth including insects like bumblebees, butterflies and moths, birds such as hummingbirds and even animals, the bat being a commonly known one, but the number one species that we depend on for pollinating agricultural crops around the world is the honeybee. In the United States alone, the agricultural industry pays beekeepers millions of dollars yearly to migrate from farm to farm and field to field and orchard to orchard during the blooming season.  In late 2006, when entire colonies of honeybees began to collapse, the search began for a culprit behind the bee deaths. Sadly, there has not been one answer to this epidemic called Colony Collapse Disorder, but numerous causes have been singled out around the globe from viruses to pesticides to habitat to parasites to fungi to a decrease in plant diversity suspected of causing malnutrition.

Albert Einstein once said, ” If honey bees become extinct, human society will follow in four years.” He was speaking about the connection between all living things on earth in every ecosystem. One out of every three bites of food on our plate has been pollinated by honeybees.  Should you be worried? The answer is yes.  The disappearance of honeybees will change food as we know it.

A new documentary, Vanishing of the Bees, narrated by actress Ellen Page, follows two commercial beekeepers, David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they fulfill their migratory pollination contracts across the United States. The film explores their struggles to maintain a healthy hive and follows them to Capital Hill where they plead for help for the industry.  The documentary explores the economic and ecological implications as well as the political implications of the demise of the honeybee.  Encouraging solutions are offered that involve all of us.

This grassroots effort to bring the film to hometowns across America is the responsibility of hive members nationwide. On March 31, we can view the film at the Science Museum of  Virginia, 2500 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23220, (804) 864-1400 at 2 pm and 6:30 pm. But that’s not all.  You, too, can show the film using your local library, your home, or your school to help educate and spread the word on the plight of the honeybee and the positive changes that have occurred. For more information please click here.

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester

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