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Halei Jarrell
Amy Ludwig
English 101
25 April 2016
Backyard Beekeeping: They Help Us and We Need to Help Them
Bees: tiny devilish creatures that have the tendency of evoking pain within innocent
people. When most people hear the word bee, they usually equate it to something negative; thus,
giving bees a bad stigma. However, these fiends are not fiends at all, but rather friends that work
tirelessly at pollinating crops and providing people with their sweet, succulent honey. Although
in the past people have neglected bees for their worth, today the average person is beginning to
realize their true importance to society. Throughout centuries, backyard beekeeping has been a
practice adopted by many people from countries all over the world. However, while backyard
beekeeping was not a popular, important topic hundreds of years ago, the endangerment of the
honeybee population has finally brought well-deserved attention to these helpful critters.
Because of unknown agents thought to be bacterium and parasites, or pesticides that are killing
Honeybees, people are starting to raise awareness for the Honeybees by becoming backyard
beekeepers. These beekeepers inspire an appreciation of bees along with movements that strive
to eradicate Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and help the dying Honeybee population.
Foreign bacteria and parasites that are introduced into the human body are known to
cause sickness. In Honeybees, this idea is the same; however, bacteria and parasites are believed
to be one of the agents to blame for the death of hundreds of thousands of Honeybees
everywhere. In the documentary Vanishing of the Bees, scientists from Penn State University
found two buzz-worthy culprits that were possibly causing the Honeybees to vanish. These

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culprits were the fungal bacteria, Nosema Ceranae, and the parasite, Varroa Mite. Both of these
harmful agents proved to cause harm to Honeybees. For example, the Verroa Mite, which feasts
on the bees body fluids, was discovered to have multiple negative effects on the health of
Honeybees. Nonetheless, neither Nosema Ceranae, nor the Verroa Mite were deemed to be the
primary cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)a phenomenon in which bees are
abandoning their hives, leaving behind the queen and the babies (Vanishing). As reported by the
American Chemical Society in the early 2000s, another parasite thought to be deadly to the
Honeybee is tracheal mites that live in bees trachea and interfere with [their] breathing (ACS).
These parasites have been linked with pesticides and even the collapse of entire bee colonies.
The scientific inquiries and discoveries of bacteria and parasites that are contributing to the
disappearance of the Honeybees are what is shedding light on the topic of Honeybees and
coercing people to become interested in solving the mystery of the vanishing bees.
In times of war, Americans used chemicalsnow used on our food called pesticides
to kill enemies. Today, Americans are using these pesticides to mass produce food that the bees
are pollinating and in turn, dying from. In 2008, David Hackenburg, the beekeeper accredited
with discovering the declining Honeybee population in the early 2000s, and his friend David
Mendes, a beekeeper from Fort Myers, Florida, travelled to Francea country that has had
issues similar to those in the United States pertaining to the dying Honeybeesfor a conference
about pesticides and how they are to be blamed for defacing the Honeybee population. The
French responded to the epidemic by banning popular pesticides, Gaucho and Poncho, marketed
by the company Bayer, which were found to be harmful to the Honeybees (Gaudet). Similarly, in
America, Penn State University research scientist Maryann Frazier, researched the use of
pesticides and the effect that they have on Honeybees and concluded that new systemic

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pesticides--thought to be harmless--have an adverse effect on the dwindling Honeybee
population (Vanishing). Systemic pesticides are pesticides introduced to plants during the
seeding process but grow with the plant through its ripening process. However, when bees
pollinate these crops, they too become affected by the pesticides and in turn, are hindered by
[weakened] immune systems, [disrupted] digestion, and [impaired] navigational abilities
(Vanishing). It is the studies and research published by scientific researchers like Frazier that
draw attention to dangerous pesticides that are harming the coveted Honeybee and urge people to
take an interest and fight for the bees that are providing them with the luxuries of fruits, nuts,
vegetables, and honey. It is logical for one to see the history of pesticides used in war and deem
pesticides harmful to the mysteriously absent Honeybee.
Organizations and movements arise as Honeybees continue to die. From thought
provoking articles with titles like The Aloof Bees: Where did They Go? to films and scientific
research documenting the killers of the Honeybees, the average American has drawn interest in
fighting to protect the black and yellow heroes that are responsible for providing the food
Americans indulge in. Dee Lusby, an American who drew interest in helping the Honeybees,
responded to the crisis by founding the Organic Beekeeping Movement and holding the first
annual organic beekeeping conference. At the conference Lusby honed in on the issue of
miticides and theorized that CDC was a result of Honeybees being out of touch with nature. She
then proceeded to delve into the ethics behind large bee corporations that feed bees sugar and
place them in crates on the road for multiple days without water (Vanishing). Other organizations
such as Save the Honeybee Foundation, Honey Love, The Honeybee Conservancy, and Save the
Hives all share one common goal. That goal is to protect the Honeybees. In 2009, the Natural
Resources Defense Council (NRDC) also took to the goal of rescuing Honeybees and brought

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justice to them by suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for allowing the harmful
pesticide, Movento, to be released onto the market despite the research judging Movento to have
negative effects on both plants and animalsspecifically the Honeybees. The court ruled in the
favor of the NRDC and the company Bayers pesticide Movento was banned on January 15,
2010. Bayer is not a stranger to the wrath of the Honeybee saving initiative going around
worldwide (Mogerman). When the French were dealing with vanishing Honeybees, they took to
the streets to protest Poncho, Gaucho, and other Bayer pesticides--eventually causing the ban of
both Poncho and Gaucho from France (Vanishing). When people band together and form groups
with one common goal and exceed expectations, change can be made to benefit society in a
wonderful way.
Alongside organizations are individuals that contribute to providing a safe environment
for Honeybees. For example, author of Toward Saving the Honeybee and beekeeper Gunther
Hauk has a Honeybee sanctuary in the backyard of his home where Honeybees are free to roam
the vast green land surrounded by organic vegetables and beautiful flowers (Vanishing). Hauks
appreciation for Honeybees extends so far that he moved from his home in Illinois that had
Monsanto fields nearby to an area in Virginia where there was less risk of Colony Collapse
Disorder. Another individual that contributes to saving Honeybees is none other than my great
grandmother Doris Bowen whom I have the pleasure of calling Granny Doris. Granny Doris
lives in rural West Virginia and farms her own fruits, vegetables, and honey. Unlike large
corporations, Hauk and Granny Doris are ethical in their beekeeping practices. They dont ship
their bees across the country to pollinate crops injected with pesticides; instead, they allow their
bees to roam and live the way bees are naturally supposed to live. However, while people like
Hauk and Granny Doris tirelessly protect and raise bees every day, people do not have to go to

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that extent in order to make a difference and save the Honeybees. There is a multitude of ways
that people can impact the lives of the Honeybees for the better. Whether people are raising bees
or planting flowers and vegetables in their backyards, they are still contributing to help the dying
Honeybees. Throughout the crisis with the Honeybees, awareness has been raised and more
actions have been made by organizations that persevered to reverse the cycle and bring the
Honeybee back to safety.
Backyard beekeeping has definitely generated a buzz amongst people across America. As
researchers strive to assess issues of Colony Collapse Disorder and the disappearing bees, more
people begin to realize the true importance of Honeybees and in turn, put forth effort to help
them. The question once was why, but now is how. Instead of questioning the importance of
Honeybees, people are getting educated about the repercussions they will face if Honeybees
disappear and are asking how they can help. If every individual, every family, and every
organization strove to make the world a better place for the Honeybees, they could essentially
eradicate harmful bacteria, pesticides, and even Colony Collapse Disorder from defacing
America--not only for the sake of Honeybees, but for the sake of mankind.

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Works Cited
American Chemical Society. "New Hope For Declining U.S. Honeybee Population."
ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2000.
Gaudet, Mary. "Without a Trace." Alternatives 31.2 (2005): 32-34. ProQuest. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.
Mogerman, Josh. "Big Win for Bees: Judge Pulls Pesticide." NRDC. NRDC, 29 Dec. 2009. Web.
22 Apr. 2016.
Vanishing of the Bees. Long Live the Queen, 2009.