‘Vanishing of the Bees’ Film Screening Saturday, May 28

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)–May 26, 2011.  The Park Forest Environment Commission and the Unitarian Universalist Community Church (UUCC) are co-sponsoring a screening of the environmental film “Vanishing of the Bees” on Saturday, May 28 at 7 p.m. at UUCC, 70 Sycamore, Park Forest. This event is free and open to the public.

Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables.

“Vanishing of the Bees” 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 film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capitol Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees. Filming across the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss. Conflicting options abound and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.

A discussion will follow the screening of the film. Refreshments will be served. You may bring a snack to share if desired. Donations will be accepted.

Keep in mind that when you are planning your summer gardens, there are things that you can do to create a ‘pollinator-friendly’ garden habitat in just a few simple steps.

  • Design your garden so that there is a continuous succession of plants flowering from spring through fall. Check for species or cultivars best suited to your area and gradually replace lawn grass with flower beds.
  • Plant native to your region using plants that provide nectar for adults plus food for insect larvae, such as milkweed for monarchs. If you do use non-native plants, choose ones that don’t spread easily, since these could become invasive.
  • Select old-fashioned varieties of flowers whenever possible because breeding has caused some modern blooms to lose their fragrance and/or the nectar/pollen needed to attract and feed pollinators.
  • Install ‘houses’ for bats and native bees. For example, use wood blocks with holes or small open patches of mud. As little as 12” across is sufficient for some bees.
  • Avoid pesticides, even so-called “natural” ones such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). If you must use them, use the most selective and least toxic ones and apply them at night when most pollinators aren’t active.
  • Supply water for all wildlife. Suspend a milk carton with a pinhole in the bottom is sufficient for some insects. Other wildlife need small containers of water.
  • Provide water for butterflies without letting it become a mosquito breeding area. Refill containers daily or bury a shallow plant saucer to its rim in a sunny area, fill it with course pine bark or stones and fill to overflowing with water.