What better way to learn about honey bees than by watching movies? Luckily there are quite a few very good documentaries about the bees. When I first became excited to learn all I could I hit the library and checked out the entire row of books dedicated to bees and beekeeping, as I talked about here. I learned a lot from the books, but I ran out of time and several went back to the library barely skimmed.
Watching a movie is just plain old fun, even when you’re learning about a complex subject. These three films are about much more than just bee anatomy, beekeeping and honey. Since honey bees and entire beehives began dying and disappearing about a decade ago, what is now called Colony Collapse Disorder, anyone involved in beekeeping or concerned with our planet has been on a serious mission to get to the bottom of this alarming situation. These three films are no exception. Each one takes a slightly different approach, but all have similar aims of educating us about what is going on and what can be done to make it better. Spoiler alert: Human’s are at fault. It’s actually more intense than you might imagine, going into this world of interaction between us and honeybees. But hopefully you will come away with a better understanding of the state of things, the issues we are currently facing, and possibly an interest in getting involved on your own
Queen of The Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?
My favorite of these three is Queen of The Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? directed by Taggart Siegel. It is actually free to watch on Amazon Prime, if you have that. All of these films can most likely be found at your local library as well. This is a fascinating journey into what has caused Colony Collapse Disorder. We get to hear from many beekeepers and scientists at the forefront of this worldwide crisis best natural weight loss supplements. We see organic beekeepers in France, Germany, Australia and the US and hear their differing opinions and relationships to bees.
We see how very recent human intervention through mechanisation, monoculture and chemical products may be forever changing the viability of bees.
The film showcases a few people who are working towards a better situation, such as Gunther Hauk, who has built a massive bee sanctuary. Many others have gone on to do the same on smaller scales. There is ultimately a message of hope as we are shown dedicated beekeepers with no signs on giving up on bees.
Queen of The Sun is a thoroughly engaging film that explains the problems and also showcases a few people deeply involved in finding solutions. It will hopefully leave you feeling motivated to get involved to help bees and the health of our planet. And you get to see a woman dancing with an entire swarm of bees on her mostly naked skin, if you like that kind of thing.
“The future of beekeeping is not one beekeeper with 60,000 hives, but 60,000 people with one hive.” –Vanishing of the Bees
This documentary is directed by George Langworth and Maryam Henein and narrated by Ellen Page. It follows commercial beekeepers as they struggle to keep their hives healthy, working in a commercial system that they recognise as horribly detrimental to bees. We see commercial beekeepers search for an explanation, meet with European and other beekeepers and look at the political and corporate systems that are contributing to this crisis. It is a great introduction to how commercial beekeeping works in the US, with trucks loaded with beehives travelling across states to pollinate monoculture crops for short periods, being fed with corn syrup and sprayed with pesticides along the way.
The directors Interview a number of people active in the beekeeping and food movements including Michael Pollen who had a great quote: “My take on Colony Collapse is that it’s one of the signs, really unmistakable signs, that our food system is unsustainable.” Vanishing of the Bees shows how commercial beekeepers have been forced into activist roles and are intertwined in a complex scenario with many players more powerful than themselves, with the unfortunate victims being the bees themselves. And since 1/4 of our food is pollinated by bees, our entire food system comes into question. Definitely worth a watch!
More than Honey
More than Honey is directed by the Swiss filmmaker Marcus Imhoof who has a long line of beekeepers in his own family. This film also explores the relationship between honey bees and humans, showing small beekeepers and huge commercial operations. This film has some amazing close up footage of bees with beautiful, detailed cinematography. One review said that this film, although gorgeous, was more like a horror story. I agree completely. It points the finger very clearly at humans’ short sighted, toxic, and exploitive actions towards honey bees and places the blame for the crisis we are now in on us, in no uncertain terms. It looks at the commercial migratory beekeeping in the US where 80% of the world’s production of almonds takes place in California, completely dependent on pollination by commercial beekeeping operations. There are startling images of humans pollinating fruit trees in China, with little pollen sticks made from purchased pollen. The film is asking, Could this be our future?
In all honesty, it’s a bit sobering to watch these films, especially if you’re new to learning about honey bees in broad terms. But there is no better way to learn a lot, while sitting on your couch (organic popcorn optional).
Let me know what you think if you check any of these out. Or if you have others you like as well!
As always, thanks bees!