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Laura McCubbin Ethics in Business Vanishing of the Bees

Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the United States. They have literally vanished from their hives without any explanation as to why. This phenomenon is known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which has been happening in more than 35 states. It has brought beekeepers to a predicament in an industry that is responsible for producing hundreds of fruits and vegetables. The movie, Vanishing of the Bees, brings awareness to the ongoing struggle of the bees and their bee keepers. Vanishing of the Bees, follows beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and figure out what has been killing the bees. Hackenberg and Mendes make a living by moving honeybees up and down the east coast. They truck their honeybee hives from field to field to pollinate crops. Hackenberg has been moving bees for the last 42 years. In the fall of 2006, Hackenberg checked his hives and realized that he had lost a large number of bees; the hives only had a few young bees and the queen left. More than half of his 3,000 hives were completely empty; however, no dead bees were in sight. He has never seen anything to this degree before. Usually they lose 30 percent of their hives each year, but those are easy to replace as new bees can fill in the gaps. Now that more than 50 percent of his hives are totally empty, he cannot easily just replace them. Nobody believed Hackenberg when he said it was a mystery as to why his bees had just disappeared. Many thought it was because he was just a bad beekeeper, but Hackenberg knew this was not the reason. By late 2007, many other beekeepers saw their own honeybees disappearing. Healthy bees were simply abandoning their hives in massive amounts and never returning. By 2008, nearly one-third of all honeybee colonies in the country had vanished. Over 40,000 hives were empty and nearly 2 billion honeybees had disappeared, but still not enough dead bees near the hives. Why are the honeybees disappearing? Scientist really have no answer to this phenomenon. Scientist studying this disorder believe a combination of factors could be making the bees sick. This includes pesticide exposure from the crops, invasive parasite mites, inadequate food supply, and a new virus that might be targeting the honeybees immune system. As of 2009, there is still no exact cause of the bees disappearance. More research is essential to determine the exact cause. The U.S. department of Agriculture (USDA) has allotted 20 million dollars over the next five years for research. So far the USDA has failed to aggressively find a solution. By moving from flower to flower, bees are the only efficient way for many crops to pollinate. Honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up nearly every bite of food on our tables. Without the bees to pollinate many of our favorite fruits and vegetables, such as apples, strawberries, and carrots, the U.S. could lose a potential 15 billion dollars worth of crops. If we do not act now to find a solution, it might be too late to save the honeybees. I did not know that bees were disappearing, so I really enjoyed watching the movie and learning more about honeybees. It was rather interesting to know that scientist have not found an exact cause yet. I hope that scientist find a cause as to why the honeybees are dying since I really enjoy eating fruits and vegetables.