Friday, March 27, 2015

"Vanishing of the Bees" examines colony collapse disorder of honeybees

Colony collapse disorder, of beehives, has become a growing issue in the environment and for agriculture.  The 2009 documentary “Vanishing of the Bees”, by Maryam Henein and George Langworthy, and narrated by Ellen Page, takes a systematic look at what is happening.  The documentary does start with some alarming tales of the almost total disappearance of bees from some colonies overnight in various locations, such as in Florida.
The bee colony is indeed the stuff of science fiction, the alien group mind, the ultimate matriarchy. The queen bee is supposed to live about five years in many species, but commercial beekeepers have been replacing them quickly. That sounds “unnatural”.  Furthermore, it’s no surprise the pesticides and miticides could have a gradual effect on bees, over generations.  The film did then cover smaller, organic-only beekeepers.
The film encourages individual people to try to help mitigate the problem on their own property. Lawns could be converted to gardens (but, alas, the lawn is no longer a “field of dreams” for whiffleball). That would take a lot of manual labor of homeowners who might have a lot of other pursuits.  The film also encourages people to buy organic. 
The film is listed for online viewing by the DC Environmental Film Festival, but I found only the trailer there, but did find it on Netflix instant play.
The official site is here from FilmBuff and Dogwood Pictures.  The film can be rented on YouTube for $6.99 from FilmBuff. 
Wikipedia attribution link for bee colony picture by Bjorn Appel Warden, under Creative Commons 3.0 Share-Alike license

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