Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Movie Review: Vanishing of the Bees

By 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev


This weekend I got around to finally watching Vanishing of the Bees (2009).  This was a very interesting and well put together documentary.  The documentary focused on colony collapse disorder (CCD) and the causes of entire bee colonies disappearing.  It was first noticed in 2006 that bee colonies were vanishing into thin air.  Beekeepers would look into a hive and find some young bees and the queen with all the drones gone and they never returned.  The crazy thing is that there were no mass amounts of dead bees to be found and no simple answer (such as a single virus or pathogen) as to why this was happening.

I had heard many reasons why CCD (cell phones, pesticides, nutrition, etc.) is happening but many scientist are still wary to agree to one reason or any reason really.  The interesting thing about this movie was that they didn’t necessarily talk to scientists or focus on what they said, but instead talked to actual beekeepers or “local knowledge”.  Beekeepers are the ones dealing with this major issue and are the ones that have the greatest interest in finding a solution.  This to me was big since often we only listen to scientist and their studies.  The issue with this is that scientist are often funded by big industry, meaning they are finding results that are only good for big business.

The reason bees are so important is that they are essential for fruit and vegetable production.  Bees are needed to help pollinate crops that are not wheat, corn, oats and rice.  Without bees our diet would be very boring, but really most of our diet is becoming these few crops with our current food industry.  The other issue with bees disappearing is that bees are an indicator of how the environment itself is doing, meaning if the bees are having issues we will see other more problematic issues down the line.

In the end, the movie concludes that CCD is caused by a multitude of effects.  This is often initiated with the use of systemic pesticides.  Systemic pesticides do not just wash off, they last longer because they are often in the seed and plant.  This is problematic because when bees are out pollinating, they bring back pollen to the hive.  This pollen is stored for winter when plants are not blooming and the bees still need food.  Once bees have systemic pesticides in their system, they are more prone to viruses and pathogens that normally do not kill entire colonies alone.  Europe is dealing with CCD as well.  They realized what was happening with the systemic pesticides and banned their usage, they found there was much less CCD after the ban.  While this may not be the only reason, it is still a cause and major issue.

I feel I could write much more about this movie, it really got me thinking about many things.  But instead I will urge you to go watch it yourself.  It is very informative and you can watch it free on Hulu.

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