More Than Honey is a documentary that discusses the declining bee populations in various places across the world, such as Switzerland and California. I watch a lot of documentaries pertaining to our food system, and I really enjoyed this film. The scenery was breathtaking, the story alarming. The film talks in depth about the declining bee populations, due to what is called Colony Collapse Disorder.
According to the USDA, “Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is syndrome defined as a dead colony with no adult bees or dead bee bodies but with a live queen and usually honey and immature bees still present. No scientific cause for CCD has been proven.” 80% of plant species need bees in order to be pollinated. What is so alarming, is that without bees there would be no pollination, (until something artificial was created of course).
“If bees were to disappear from the globe, mankind would only have four years left to live.” -Albert Einstein
There are quite a few documentaries about the issue of declining bees. Two, that I have seen are: Vanishing of the Bees and Who Killed All the Honey Bees, all of which create awareness, this is the first step in creating change.
After watching this documentary, I wanted to do more research about any changes that have taken place to policy, or with the statistics regarding bee populations. I found the following on the EPA’s website,
“In 2007, USDA established a CCD Steering Committee with representatives from other government agencies, and academia. EPA is an active participant in the CCD Steering Committee. The Steering Committee has developed the Colony Collapse Disorder Action Plan (PDF) (28 pp, 2 MB, About PDF). The plan has four main components:
- Survey/Data Collection to determine the extent of CCD and the current status of honey bee colony production and health.
- Analysis of Bee Samples to determine the prevalence of various pests and pathogens, bee immunity and stress, and exposure to pesticides.
- Hypothesis-Driven Research on four candidate factors including:
- new and reemerging pathogens,
- bee pests,
- environmental and nutritional stresses, and
- Mitigative/Preventive Measures to improve bee health and habitat and to counter mortality factors.
In October 2013, the CCD Steering Committee hosted the national stakeholder conference on honey bee health. The conference brought together a broad group of stakeholders to examine the federal governement’s course of action to understand collony collapse disorder and honey bee health. Based on input from the stakeholders at this conference, the CCD steering committee is drafting a revised CCD and honey bee health action plan.”
“Once thought to pose a major long term threat to bees, reported cases of CCD have declined substantially over the last five years. The number of hives that do not survive over the winter months – the overall indicator for bee health – has maintained an average of about 28.7 percent since 2006-2007 but dropped to 23.1 percent for the 2014-2015 winter. While winter losses remain somewhat high, the number of those losses attributed to CCD has dropped from roughly 60 percent of total hives lost in 2008 to 31.1 percent in 2013; in initial reports for 2014-2015 losses, CCD is not mentioned.”
I am not sure if this truly means that the issues have been resolved, or if it is another government cover up. As far as social media, there are various hash tags campaigns on Twitter, such as #savethebees. Even if the populations have stopped declining, bees are essential to growing food. Even Morgan Freeman is taking a stand.