The Last Beekeeper on Animal Planet

The World’s Honeybees Are In Crisis and Are Vanishing at an Alarming Rate. Animal Planet’s THE LAST BEE KEEPER Ponders this Mystery and the Impending Impact of Bee Extinction, April 22.
THE LAST BEE KEEPER is a thoughtful meditation on the devastating effects of economic and ecological change as an unexplained illness threatens the world’s bee population
In 1950, there were 500,000 beekeepers in the U.S. –today there are less than 1,600. With beekeepers earning most of their income pollinating crops, many travel to California’s enormous annual almond pollination (an event so large it requires nearly all the bees in the U.S.) to make their living. However, in 2007 just before the almond pollination, 20 billion bees mysteriously disappeared; many beekeepers went bankrupt.

Animal Planet’s THE LAST BEE KEEPER is the story of three who survived. Premiering Thursday, April 22 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT, this heartwarming 90-minute special follows the lives of three commercial beekeepers (from South Carolina, Montana, and Washington) over the course of one year as they struggle with a growing phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Threatening crops, the world food supply and the livelihoods of beekeepers, this mysterious occurrence brings into focus a global problem, asking with a sense of urgency, “what is the fate of our planet if the fate of our bees is in jeopardy?”

Animal Planet’s THE LAST BEE KEEPER examines the world honeybee crisis caused by the devastating effects of Colony Collapse Disorder, April 22.

Bees are the unsung heroes of the food chain – responsible for pollinating a third of the food we eat – and they are disappearing without a trace. With some beekeepers reporting an unexplained 60 – 90% decrease in their hive population, entomologists are working to solve this environmental mystery of what caused this shocking trend and how it can be stopped. At first, though many failed to see Colony Collapse Disorder as more than a tough break for the honey industry, the severity of the situation is beginning to sound alarms – bees play a vital role in pollinating many crops, and without them the growth of many staples could come to a standstill.
Animal Planet’s THE LAST BEE KEEPER explores the consequences of Colony Collapse Disorder by following the beekeepers’ emotional journey as they prepare for the annual almond pollination season – which requires them to load their hives on flatbed trucks and drive thousands of kilometres cross-country to California. Watch as they struggle to keep their hives healthy and ponder the possible impact of bee extinction on the agricultural industry. Beekeeping is not just a career for these people; it’s their life and passion, a feeling made poignantly clear as each beekeeper fights back tears as they discover their hives are disappearing.
The cause of Colony Collapse Disorder remains unknown and if honeybees continue to decline at the same rate, they will cease to exist in the U.S. by 2035.

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