By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH -- A perplexing problem with honeybees is the topic of the next film in the Social Justice film series at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach.
"Vanishing of the Bees" is a documentary film produced in 2009 that illustrates the impact bees on food crops around the world, and a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder that is threatening agriculture's future.
The free film will be shown at 7 p.m. on June 9 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 1590 27th Ave. in Vero Beach. While the film showing is free, donations are accepted to help cover the cost of the film's screening rights fee.
Glenn Rogers, chairman of the social justice film committee for the church, said the film is very interesting and he is interested for the discussion it will generate after the viewing.
Steve Lapointe, a local entomologist, will be leading the discussion time, Mr. Rogers said.
"In the film series, we try to discuss some issues that affect the planet and the way we live," Mr. Rogers said. "Bees are an integral part of growing food for their pollinating abilities, as is illustrated in the film."
Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one-third of food served as human food, but the bees have been curiously disappearing across the planet, a press release said.
"Vanishing of the Bees" follows two commercial beekeepers as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. In the film, the two plead their case on Capitol Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their bees.
Bees help farmers produce a variety of crops, including apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions and cherries.
"If we didn't have the pollination, some of the things we love to eat we wouldn't have anymore," Mr. Rogers said.
The film highlights scientists discussing the disappearance of honeybees, and the musings of organic beekeepers for its cause. Though many years of research has been done, a definitive answer has not yet been found, though pesticides could be partly to blame.
In Indian River County, the relationship between bees and the citrus industry is a little different, said Mr. Lapointe, who has a doctorate degree in entomology from Cornell University.
Besides classes on bees while studying at the university level, Mr. Lapointe has also kept bees in various stages of his life.
While bees are found in many citrus groves, scientists have not determined that pollination is crucial to the crop success of many varieties of citrus, especially grapefruit, he said.
"Instead of bees helping the groves by pollinating, the bees use the groves for its nectar and to produce sweet honey," Mr. Lapointe said. "Because there are so many varieties of citrus, scientist cannot univocally say that bees have no benefit to a citrus grove, and their precise impact on the groves is not clear."
For more information about the film series, call (772) 778-5880.