Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?
This visually stunning, artistic and inspiring documentary examines the catastrophic disappearance of the honeybee around the world, revealing the problems and possible causes of colony collapse disorder as well as viable solutions to rebuilding bee populations.
Film director, Taggart Siegel, takes the viewer on a fascinating journey that reveals the history of bees and beekeeping, the importance of bees to humanity and to nature, our relationship with honeybees over time, how modern industrial agricultural methods are harming them and us, and what we can do as individuals to help the honeybee survive.
Film Release: April 2010
Film Length: 1 Hour / 21 Minutes
How You Can Help Honeybees
- PLANT bee-friendly flowers, plants and flowering herbs to help provide food for the bees
- LEAVE the weeds and wildflowers in your garden, and clover and dandelions in your lawn
- ELIMINATE using chemicals and pesticides from your garden and lawn
- PROVIDE WATER. Bees are thirsty. Provide a continuous shallow basin of clean water in your garden
- BUY local, raw honey—Not commercial honey from China or another source. Look for the words “Pure” and “Raw”. Buy directly from a local beekeeper
- EAT organic, local, seasonal produce and pesticide free food – shop at your local Farmers Markets or organic, natural food store
- BECOME a beekeeper yourself using only sustainable practices
- UNDERSTAND honeybees, know they are usually very docile, they are vegetarians looking for pollen and nectar from flowers, and travel up to 3 miles from their hive daily
- BE A VOICE for the honeybees, advocate for them in your community. Share about the importance of bees at local community meetings, conferences, in schools and universities, and on on-line message boards and forums. Get involved.
- FIGHT for them politically, push for Policy Change
- READ more about how to Get Involved
- LEARN more about helping the Honeybees
Quotes From the Film
If we kill all the bees, there will be no agriculture.
The honeybee is important because it pollinates 40% of the food we eat.
We have lost about 5 million bee colonies, each one having 20-60,000 individual bees in the hive.
Their crisis is our crises. It could be the colony collapse disorder of the human being.
Personally I am grateful for the crisis, the crisis will give us the possibility to learn something if we are willing and the heart opens up enough so the mind can come up with a solution.
Our relationship with the honeybee is about 10,000 years old. That was the beginning of the beekeeper. Beekeepers are chosen by the bees.
The honeybee was considered a sacred animal. The sacredness came out of the knowledge that the honeybee is one of the great nurturers, because of life and fertility.
There is a reverence for bees, there is also a reverence for the Gods. They are keeping us alive, as opposed to the other way around. If we don’t protect them, then we are not protecting ourselves.
Honey was considered so sacred as a gift of the bees. Most honey was always given away as a gift. It is a healing substance, it has enzymes, minerals, trace minerals, silica—silica and honey have a beneficial influence on our evolution.
Primarily from the 19th Century on, we have gone into controlling nature more and more. We have lost the feeling for the sacredness.
The almond crop is the fastest growing export crop in California. Bees from the entire country get on trucks in the middle of winter and come to California to perform this critical pollination act. The bees have to literally be woken up, and fed high-fructose corn syrup to waken out of their winter slumber – and come out of dormancy to pollinate the almond crops.
Monoculture, or single crop agriculture, is efficient—but from the point of view of agriculture, it’s a sin – and for the bees, it destroys them.
Huge expanses of corn and soybean monocrops have starved the honeybees. Every two years we have a disaster. The agriculture and our techniques of farming in the U.S. could bring us to the situation where the bees don’t find enough nectar in the U.S. to even sustain themselves.
I had that feeling of urgency to start this biodynamic farm, with beekeeping at its heart. We are surrounded here in the heartland by Monsanto – with genetically manipulated crops and seed, they are vast deserts and the bees cannot exist there. The bees are like a patient in the emergency room.
The comb is the skeleton of the honeybee, 90 percent of their lifespan is happening on the comb.
For the beehive, all the individual bees dedicate their life for the bigger entity. Monasteries are imitating a beehive, there’s a formalized striving for selflessness, for letting go of ego, for the totality of life.
Those 60,000 bees are one undividable entity. They are one. The bees are harmony.
In Piedmont alone, more than 30,000 beehives have been systematically poisoned by insecticides.
Industrial farming is based on chemicals that came from war—and are used to kill. These pesticides are so damaging to so many creatures that are part of the food chain. In Europe, there are more and more pesticides, and more and more beehives are disappearing.
Neonicotinoids—this new class of pesticides target the central nervous system, and are extremely damaging to life and to bees. Honeybees lack the enzymes to break down poisons and toxins, like those in pesticides.
Bayer is responsible for the use and production of pesticides that kill bees. This is the first issue.
In Europe, the bees are completely dependent on human help and care – without the help of all human beings and beekeepers, it would be a worse situation.
Beyond bees, flies and beetles are very important pollinators.
We know from conventional ecology, that if bees are dying, then the birds will be dying, plants will be dying …
The structure of the plant has changed completely (due to genetic engineering). Every genetically modified seed is a bundle of toxins, bacteria and virus promoters. Genetically engineered crops compromise the immune system of the bees.
When we start to manipulate genetic sources, it allows us to be almost God-like, but the question is do we have the wisdom, the morality, to do these interventions? Do we really know what we’re doing? Are we sure that we know the long-term effects? We’re experimenting with the soul and body of human beings. There’s a moment things will collapse.
You’re on a treadmill of putting chemicals in the hive to kill the mite. But the long-term more sustainable approach, is to let bee and mite coexist together, without the use of any chemicals.
People say they can’t keep bees, they’re lying. I think it’s so rewarding.
The bees are sun creatures, they are the nurturers on Earth.
Modern queen breeding has brought the quality of the queen down, to the point, that they only live now a couple of years.
There are parallels with pig and cow breeding, we have physically weakened all of them in industrial farming, because of severe confinement, now they live much shorter lives, and often cannot even stand up or walk.
In Western Australia, the use of chemicals is banned, so our bees and honey are very pristine.
Bees get a lot of bad press that is undeserved.
A movement of backyard and rooftop beekeeping is rising in popularity around the world.
We have to care for nature in the right way, and nature will care for us in return. A human community is the perfect training ground for community with the planet and nature. The bees need our help now. The beekeeper’s job is to make sure the bees stay happy and healthy.
The Solution – is to go to the various monoculture productions. For them to take a small portion of their holdings and plow it under and plant it with bee-friendly crops, so the bees will be right there on the property, as opposed to transporting them thousands of miles to pollinate, then transporting them back again. They belong right on the farm.
The bees are telling us to become true caretakers.
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- Directed by: Taggart Siegel
- Produced by: John Betz
- A Collective Eye film
Experts in the Film
- Gunther Hauk, Biodynamic Beekeeper, farmer, writer
- Michael Pollan, auther of four New York Times bestsellers
- Vandana Shiva, world renown physicist and environmental, human and animal advocate
- Jacqueline Freeman, Biodynamic Beekeeper, farmer and owner of Friendly Haven Rise Farm in Venersborg, Washington
- Scott Black, Biologist, Executive Director of The Xerces Society, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the diversity of life through the conservation of invertebrates
- Raj Patel, Author of “Stuffed and Starved,” Patel is an award-winning writer, activist and academic, and is an Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food